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Four Reasons to Run for Better Health

December 15, 2017

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When performed on a regular basis, even small amounts of vigorous exercise can provide significant health benefits that go far beyond what can be achieved with medications. Running, for instance, can help prevent heart attacks and strokes by naturally lowering blood pressure and preventing arterial blockages. Plus, studies show that runners gain approximately three years of life over their more sedentary counterparts.

Perhaps most encouraging of all, when it comes to running, more is not necessarily better. Remarkably, studies show that people who run for as little as five minutes a day at a very achievable pace of six miles per hour (a 10-minute mile) can achieve the very same benefits as elite runners who can cover a mile in under six minutes or spend many hours out on a track each week. The key is consistency. This is fantastic news for people who enjoy exercising but don’t have much time, as well as those who simply don’t think of themselves as "runners."

If you’re not yet convinced, here are four more reasons to run for better health:

  • Running can make you happier. Maybe you’ve already noticed that no matter how good or bad you feel, exercise makes you feel better. During intense physical activity, the body releases natural "feel good" hormones called endorphins, and their beneficial effects can extend far beyond an instantaneous "runner’s high." Researchers have found that exercise can lift the mood of a person who is coping with a major depressive disorder, not to mention relieve stress, sharpen mental focus, boost self-esteem and promote sound sleep. The list goes on.
  • Running will help you get and stay fit. Of course, whenever you work out, you burn calories. But, running provides a bonus: the "burn" continues even after you stop (scientists refer to this phenomenon as excess post oxygen consumption). Even better: if you run on a regular basis, the "afterburn" effect will continue to intensify.
  • Running can strengthen your bones, knees and other joints. Exercise is known to increase bone mass, which can help counteract age-related bone loss. And, while some people incorrectly assume that running is "bad for your knees," experience has shown that the opposite is actually true. In fact, the majority of people who develop knee arthritis are not – and have never been – runners.
  • Running can lower your risk of developing many types of cancer. Concededly, running is not a cure for cancer. But, there is substantial evidence to suggest that regular cardiovascular exercise can have a significant preventive effect. Additionally, many people who are undergoing cancer treatment find that regular running enhances their quality of life.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we believe that exercise can serve as an effective form of medicine. Every year since 2006, we’ve proudly sponsored Miles for Moffitt. This family-oriented event welcomes runners and walkers from the Tampa community and beyond who are interested in getting a healthy dose of exercise while helping Moffitt carry on its mission – to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. Every dollar raised through this initiative goes directly toward empowering our scientists and researchers, allowing them to continue their work in unlocking cancer’s secrets, developing new and more effective treatments and bringing us closer to the day when cancer is no longer a feared diagnosis.

If you’d like to learn more, contact Moffitt at 1-888-663-3488.