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8 key ways running can transform your body and brain

Knee pain

Knee pain is often a sign of over-training or a need to improve form or flexibility. Running actually seems to improve knee health. Researchers found the more people ran, the less likely the were to suffer knee pain or osteoarthritis.

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8 key ways running can transform your body and brain

8 key ways running can transform your body and brain

https://www.businessinsider.co.za/health-benefits-of-running-2018-4?r=US

businessinsider.co.za

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Key Ideas

Running - the miracle drug

Many experts consider exercise to be the closest thing to a miracle drug. Running is one of the simplest ways to exercise. It can lift symptoms of depression and improve your mood. It burns calories, builds strength and improves cardiovascular health.

Knee pain

Knee pain is often a sign of over-training or a need to improve form or flexibility. Running actually seems to improve knee health. Researchers found the more people ran, the less likely the were to suffer knee pain or osteoarthritis.

Running helps young people sleep

Research found that young people that run for 30 minutes, five days a week focus better during the day and sleep better at night.

Running is good for the heart

Running for 5 minutes a day can add years to your life.

Studies found that people who run at least 40 miles per week have healthier hearts than those who run 13 miles a week, indicating that ultramarathons do not stress or scar the heart.

Running can improve your mind

Aerobic exercise, like running, jogging, or brisk walking can keep your mind healthy as you age.

Cognitive benefits include working memory, focus and task switching.

Running makes you resistant to stress

Many studies that focus on running found that aerobic exercise can improve people's ability to handle stress.

Researchers think this may be because aerobic exercise increases levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, and causes the brain to generate new neurons.

Running increases your lifespan

People who get 30 minutes or more of aerobic exercise on regular bases are less likely to develop certain types of cancer or other forms of illness.

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Benefits

It is never too late to start running. Many take up this sport in their 50s and beyond. To start, you only need a good pair of running shoes and a desire.

Running is a very effective...

Types of running
  • Road Running: running on paved roads, paths, and sidewalks.
  • Treadmill Running: easier than outdoor running and can be gentler on your joints.
  • Racing. Road races can vary from 5Ks to half or full marathons or even ultramarathons. 
  • Trail Running: it takes place on hiking trails, from deserts to mountains.
  • Track Running. Track events include shorter distance races from the 50-yard dash to 400-meter sprints. 
Getting Started
  • Invest in Shoes and Gear. Visit a specialty running store to get fitted for the best shoes for you and check out gear such as running shorts, tops, or tights made of wicking fibers.
  • Stay Safe. Do a warmup before you start, like a walk or an easy jog for 5 min.
  • Follow running safety advice, such as going against traffic when running on roads. Always carry some form of identification with you.
  • Use the Run/Walk Method. Start with running for one minute, then walk for one minute. Try to increase the running intervals over time.
  • Make It Manageable. Keep a conversational pace during each workout. If you can't speak in a full sentence, slow down. Breathe through your nose to get enough oxygen.

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A running plan

You can benefit from just 30 minutes of running, 3 times a week.

Start by running 20 minutes at a time, and increase the amount and frequency only when you feel comfortable with your current ...

Running equipment

Invest in a good pair of running shoes and a quality shirt made from wicking material to keep you drier.

A sports watch and heart-rate monitor are nice to have.

Pace of running

Running will put you slightly out of breath when you start. It should eventually decrease. You should be able to hold a conversation when you're running a good pace.

Once a week, run a faster speed to increase your fitness level.

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HIIT: high-intensity interval training
HIIT: high-intensity interval training

HIIT workouts generally combine short bursts of intense heart-pounding exercise (during which a person’s heart rate reaches at least 80 percent of its maximum capacity, usually for 1 to 5 minute...

The most well-established benefit of HIIT...

...has to do with heart health: Intervals can boost cardio-respiratory health with a smaller time investment compared to continuous forms of exercise

It's not about superior fat-burning capacity or bigger muscles, but about improved VO2 max, a measure of endurance that calculates the maximum volume of oxygen the body can use.

VO2 max is one of the best predictors of overall health.

HIIT and weight loss

People can burn comparable amounts of calories in HIIT routines lasting, compared to longer continuous exercise routines. But  this doesn't mean that calorie burn translates into weight loss

This is the problem with HIIT, just like with any other form of exercise: it’s much easier to lose weight by cutting calories in your diet than trying to burn excess calories.

Running benefits
Running outperforms walking, cycling and other forms of aerobic exercise when it comes to lengthening life. Runners on average live three years longer compared to non-runners.
Overtraining

If you suffer from lower-body aches or strains, it could be an indication you're not giving yourself enough rest.

Excessive endurance exercise, especially during middle-age and beyond, could lead to damage to the heart.

The best way to exercise

To avoid injury, focus on the perception of effort, not duration.

At least twice a week, exercise at a greater intensity. Alternate between hard and easy days to give your body a chance to recover.

Lifestyle choices influence how you age

Adopting specific lifestyle behaviors can have a tangible effect on how well you age: activities like learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, taking part in aerobic exercise, and dev...

Aging process and cognitive decline

As time passes, there is a build-up of toxins in the brain that correlate to the aging process of cognitive decline. Although this is a natural part of growing older, many factors can exacerbate it. Stress, neurotoxins such as alcohol and lack of (quality and quantity) sleep can speed up the process.

Neuroplasticity

The key to resilient aging is improving neurogenesis, the birth of new neurons. 

This activity occurs in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that lays down memories. And we respond to and store new experiences every day, and cement them during sleep. The more we can experience new activities, people, places, and emotions, the more likely we are to encourage neurogenesis.

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Exercise Benefits The Brain

Any kind of exercise, be it aerobic, walking or Yoga, changes the brain's composition, structure and the way it operates. The changes that happen to the brain:

  • Brain wa...
Brain Waves increasing

The brain's electric impulses change, and the Beta waves increase during and after exercise, putting it in a better, more alert state.

More Sensitive To The World

Exercise makes our senses sharper and clearer, and we are more perceptive and have better sensitivity to our surroundings.

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Keeping Your Brain Healthy
Keeping Your Brain Healthy
  • We can improve every aspect of our lives by keeping our most vital organ, our brain, healthy.
  • Exercise is not only good for your body but helps your brain by enhancing many brain s...
Tea and Brain Health

Drinking tea is good for the brain, helping regulate the age-related decline. It also strengthens the brain connections, the neural network inside the brain, making information processing more efficient.

Even coffee is said to be good to ward off the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Better Heart = Better Brain

Anything that is bad for the heart is bad for the brain, including smoking cigarettes, or having a sedentary lifestyle, or having diabetes.

Your blood sugar, body mass index, diet and blood pressure all contribute to the health of your heart, and your brain.

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Hiking in nature and mental health

Our world is becoming more and more urban and urbanization is linked to depression and other forms of mental illness. Visibly, simply removing us from an urban environment to spend time outdoors wh...

Nature prescriptions

Doctors are starting to write “nature prescriptions” or recommending “ecotherapy” to reduce anxiety, improve stress levels, and to curb depression. Plus, nature prescriptions are becoming more accepted by traditional health care providers as more research shows the benefits of exercising and spending time in nature.

Getting started with hiking

Hiking is one of the easiest and least-expensive sports to get involved in, and it’s fun and beneficial for the whole family. If you’re just getting started, don’t plan a Colorado 14er or to hike the Appalachian Trail. You can start small. Check out local short hiking trails and work your way up to a safe and comfortable distance. 

A clear mind
A clear mind

Running never fails to clear your head. Do you have to make a potentially life-altering decision? Go for a run. Are you feeling mad or sad? Go for a run.

A run can sometimes make you ...

Exercise and improved memory

Neuroscience used to think that our brains got a set amount of neurons. However, studies in animal models show that new neurons are produced in the brain throughout the lifespan.

Vigorous aerobic exercise - about 30 to 40 minutes - is the only activity that triggers the birth of those new neurons. The new neurons are created in the region of the brain associated with learning and memory, partially explaining the link between aerobic exercise and improvement in memory.

The brain’s frontal lobe

Increased activity is seen in the brain’s frontal lobe after adopting a long-term habit of physical activity. After about 30 - 40 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, studies have recorded increased blood flow in this region, which is associated with clear thinking: planning ahead, focus and concentration, goal-setting, time management.

This area is also linked to emotion regulation, allowing us to recover faster from emotions.

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Exercises For Posture Correction
Exercises For Posture Correction
  • Plank: Hold the initial push-up position, legs straight. Don’t allow your lower back to sink, and make sure you are looking down at the floor. 
  • Wall Angels: Lean bac...
Posture Belt

Wearing a posture belt during the first few hours of morning is good practice. 

  • Place the strap over your upper back and hold the ends in each hand.
  • Drape each end of the strap over its respective shoulder.
  • Cross the strap in the back holding one end in each hand.
  • Pull the straps so that you feel it in your trapezius muscles and secure the ends at the front.
Reverse Plank Bridge
  • Keep your arms straight and pull your shoulders back.
  • Bring your shoulder blades together.
  • Tuck your chin.
  • Push your chest up and extend your spine.
  • Your fingers can be pointed forward or backward.

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