4 Health Benefits of Running
That You Don't Already Know

November 2014--The Peaceful Runner Newsletter #50

Dear Friend,

Welcome to our monthly newsletter -- 4 Health Benefits of Running That You Don't Already Know! 

We all love running and how great it makes us feel, but there are now more running health benefits than we previously realized. We hope you enjoy this month's article!  


4 Health Benefits of Running
That You Don't Already Know


We all know that running is good for us physically, mentally and socially. It strengthens our heart and lungs and helps keep the pounds off! It's a great stress reliever and if you have ever experienced "runner's high," you know how great it can make you feel.

Many runners also enjoy the social benefits of running when they belong to a running club or running community. It gives us a chance to meet and train with others and we enjoy the sense of belonging that it provides.

However, most runners are not aware of these 4 other health benefits of running:

1. Brain Health — Running can make you smarter. 

The hippocampus is the region of the brain that is associated with learning and memory. In 2011 a study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reported that older adults who exercised regularly increased the volume of the hippocampus by 2 percent compared to their inactive peers. This is a significant finding as this area of the brain is not known to increase at all during adulthood.

Running also increases brain tissue volume which would otherwise shrink as we age. When we run, oxygen-rich and glucose-rich blood gets pumped to our brains providing energy for the brain. The growth of new nerve cells and blood vessels are stimulated resulting in increased brain tissue.

Health Benefits of Running

2. Strengthens Joints and Bones - Running does not wear out your knees or cause arthritis as many believe.

A 22-year study of over 74,000 runners conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California finds that running can actually inhibit joint damage. The study found that running significantly reduced the risk of osteoarthritis and hip replacements. 

These results are not really surprising as running increases the amount of blood directed to the joints and surrounding ligaments making then stronger and increasing bone density. As oxygen to the joints is increased and toxins are flushed, there is less joint pain.

According to the experts, genetics and carrying excess weight are more likely to cause osteoarthritis than running. 

"Self-care is critical to having a strong inner foundation. 
Taking good care of YOU means the people in your life will receive the best of you rather than what is left of you."

-- Lorraine Cohen

3. Gut Health - Running outdoors can result in improved gut health.

We know that spending time outdoors will increase your body's Vitamin D levels which help keep your bones strong and improve your mood, but now there are more health benefits to be aware of when you run outdoors.

In August 2014, the BBC Horizon program presented numerous facts connecting the lack of diverse beneficial bacteria in the gut to the incidence of allergies. One of the program's recommendations for increasing the levels of beneficial bacteria in the body is spending more time outside to provide contact with environmental microbes to benefit the health of our gut. 

Scientists are now discovering the link between poor gut health and weakness in our immune system and the increase of various diseases including chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, allergies, obesity and GI diseases.

So on your next run outdoors, take pleasure in knowing that you are taking advantage of the health benefits of running as you become exposed to better microbiome and improving your gut health!


4. Eye Health - Running reduces the risk of developing eye diseases.

Eye pressure is one of the major contributing factors causing glaucoma and other disorders of the eye. A study conducted in 2004 showed that running only 20 minutes significantly reduced eye pressure.

Another study showed that those who exercised 3 times a week were less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Many eye diseases are linked to other health problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Running helps reduce the risk of these health problems and therefore protects your eyes from their possible damaging effects.

So if you are feeling lackadaisical about going for your next run, just remember how healthy running can be for so many different parts of your body and your whole body in it entirety. 

Were you aware of any of these health benefits of running? We would love to hear from you. Please add your comments/opinions below. Thanks for reading the full article!

As always, keep running, smiling and be happy and peaceful!

With love and peace,

Jackie 

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