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Why You Must Run?

RunWhether you gently jog a few kilometres a week or you are a race regular, pounding the pavement is a wise move. Running can be daunting at first, but you will start to feel the mental and physical benefits within a matter of weeks.

Still not sure if running is for you? Here are 10 great reasons to lace up your running shoes and hit the open road…

  • You lose weight – If you want to shed kilos, pick up the pace. In 30 minutes, a 60-kilo woman burns about 287 calories running at 10 kilometres per hour and about 96 calories walking at five kilometres an hour.
  • You strengthen your bones – Contrary to popular belief, running will not wreak havoc on bones. In fact, it can increase bone density and reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
  • You live longer – Running one and a half to two hours a week can increase women’s lifespan by 5.6 years and men’s by 6.2 years, according to a major Danish study that surveyed 20,000 men and women over a period of 36 years. And you don’t need to win any races to reap the benefits either – lead researcher Peter Schnohr says you only need to run fast enough to feel a little breathless.
  • You decrease your risk of cancer – The Journal Of Nutrition published a review of 170 studies analysing the relationship between physical activity and cancer risk in 2002. The results were clear: breaking a sweat on a regular basis will slash your chances of developing several types of cancer. Colon cancer, for example, had an average risk reduction of 40 to 70 per cent, while breast, prostate and lung cancers all had an average risk reduction of 30 to 40 per cent.
  • You strengthen muscles – According to researchers at Boston’s Tufts University, you lose about one per cent of muscle mass each year after the age of 30. Unless you maintain muscle through regular exercise, fat takes over. While you should add resistance training to your weekly regimen, running strengthens your legs, back and abdominal muscles.
  • You reduce your risk of diabetes – The US Nurses’ Health Study found three hours of vigorous exercise a week reduces women’s risk of type 2 diabetes by 46 per cent.
  • You improve your sleep and boost your energy – If counting sheep isn’t cutting it, running 30 minutes five times a week could solve your sleep issues. A study published in the journal Mental Health And Physical Activity found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week improved sleep quality by 65 per cent. Participants were also 65 per cent less likely to feel sleepy during the day.
  • You lift your mood – Several studies have found running can elevate mood and even ease depression, thanks to the release of feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Many runners even report an almost euphoric feeling known as “runner’s high”, which is natural and cheaper than therapy.
  • You reduce your risk of blood pressure and heart disease – Running regularly improves your cardiovascular health by increasing the elasticity of your arteries, which in turn reduces your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
  • You boost your immunity- A study at the University of South Carolina in the US found regular moderate exercise reduced participants’ risk of the common cold and other upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) by 20 per cent. But less is more when it comes to warding off illness: long-distance runners are more susceptible to URTIs during periods of heavy training and in the week following long races.