Regular exercise is known to be an essential part of a healthy lifestyle but studies have found running, or jogging, is particularly beneficial to our health. Research has shown running can help prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other conditions, while improving your mental health too.
On Global Running Day, on 1 June, here are five reasons to make running part of your exercise routine.
1. Running reduces the risk of heart disease
Running as little as five to 10 minutes a day can help reduce the risk of death from heart disease. A study published in July 2014 in the Journal Of The American College Of Cardiology analysed over 55,000 adults in Texas, United States, who were asked how much they ran over the past few months.
Around a quarter of participants were runners − who reported how far, how fast and how often they ran for − and the rest were non-runners. Over a period of 15 years, the study found runners were 45% less likely to die from heart disease and 30% less likely to die from any cause, than non-runners.
2. Running reduces anxiety
Cardiovascular exercise, such as running, helps to reduce the body's stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. According to a University College London study published in 2014, being physically active three times a week reduces the odds of being depressed by approximately 16%. In 2013, a study in Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise showed rats and mice received anti-depressant-like effects from running on a wheel.
3. Running boosts your brain
A study published earlier this year by the University of Jyväskylä in Finland found running can potentially help boost your brainpower. Scientists found aerobic exercise increases neuron reserves in the brain's hippocampus, an area responsible for learning. It showed sustained aerobic exercise, such as running, helped boost the production of hippocampal neurons in adult rats, but resistance training had little to no impact.
4. Running and exercise can reduce the risk of developing cancer
There are various studies which show being physically active can help reduce the risk of developing breast, bowel or womb cancer, according to Cancer Research. Physical activity can lower the level of oestrogen in women, a hormone which is thought to fuel the development of many breast and womb cancer tumours.
5. Running is good for your bones
Researchers from the Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi in Milan recently found exercise that puts greater strain on bones, such as running, may be more beneficial to long-term bone health than non-weight-bearing exercise, such as cycling.