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What are the benefits of running every day?

by Gary Reading, Jun 2018

1. Running can help you live longer

Runners live longer than those who don’t. In one Archives of Internal Medicine study, researchers followed about 1,000 adults (ages 50 and older) for 21 years. At the end of the study, 85 percent of the runners were still kicking it, while only 66 percent of the non-runners were alive.

2. Running can get you high

The runner’s high is real: Mounting research, including one study published in Experimental Technology, shows that when we run, our brains pump out endocannabinoids, cannabis-like molecules that keep runners happy—and hooked.

3. Running doesn’t require a commute

Sure, your gym workout might only take an hour, but getting to and from the gym takes another 30 minutes. But the second you step out of your front door, you can be running, says Moen. After all, you spend enough of your time in the car. What’s more: Running can be your commute!

4. Running fights off beer bellies

As you age, pounds just have a way of gluing themselves to your stomach. But in one Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise study of more than 100,000 runners, those who ran 35 or more miles per week gained less weight in their bellies throughout their mid-life years than those who ran less than nine.

5. Running can help score you Vitamin D

The human body gets most of its vitamin D from sun exposure, but since people spend all of their time indoors, well, you know how it goes. That explains why 41.6 percent of Americans are deficient in the vitamin, according to research published in Nutrition Research. Taking your run outside can help boost your levels to ward off depression, prevent type 2 diabetes, and strengthen your bones.

6. Running burns crazy calories

“An average one-hour weight-training workout at the gym burns about 300 calories. The typical hour-long run burns about twice that,” explains American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer Tammie Dubberly, a running coach with Whole Body Fitness in Portland, Oregon. Meanwhile, in one study from the Medical College of Wisconsin and the VA Medical Center, researchers found that the treadmill (used at a “hard” level) burned an average of 705 to 865 calories in an hour. The stair-climber, rower, and stationary bike all burned far fewer cals.

7. Running doesn’t require a ton of equipment

“If you’ve got shoes, shorts, and a shirt, you are good to go,” Fitzgerald says. “You can’t say that about many other workouts.” No machines, dumbbells, or even mats required.

8. You can run anywhere

Running will take you a heck of a lot farther than the four walls of your gym. “You can run anywhere in the world. There are literally races in Antarctica and the Sahara Desert,” Fitzgerald says. OK, most guys won’t go that far. But a weekend away won’t wreck your workout routine.

9. You can run at any time

The trail is never closed. Whether you want to get in a workout at 2 pm or 2 am, you can go for it, says Erik Moen, P.T., founder of Corpore Sano Physical Therapy in Washington.

10. Your dog can run with you

Dogs typically aren’t welcome in the gym. But they are right at home on the trail. They even get endocannabinoid-fueled runner’s highs similar to those of their two-legged friends, according to research from the University of Arizona.

11. Running turns you into the Energizer bunny

“Running is such a great cardiovascular workout that it makes it so that you don’t get tired as easily from any given workload,” Fitzgerald says. “For example, if I’m helping a friend move, I can carry boxes all day long and it’s not a big deal.”

12. Running strengthens your bones

Unlike every other aerobic workout you can crank out in the gym, running is high impact, meaning it loads and remakes your bones along with your muscles. “Swimming, cycling, and working on the elliptical don’t train your bones,” says Jason Fitzgerald, a USA Track & Field-certified coach and the founder of Strength Running. “If those are the only things you do, you’re at risk for weak bones and osteoporosis.”

13. Running helps you reach your goals

“Running makes you very goal-oriented. You’re always trying to achieve new PRs, and you know that you can’t just beat your goal in a day. It takes time, work, and consistency,” Fitzgerald says. That mindset, and practice working toward running goals, can pay off in helping you reach other career, financial, and personal goals.

14. Running makes you tenacious

“Running builds a tenacity and mental toughness that translates into every area of your life,” Fitzgerald says. If you can handle getting through 26.2 miles, you can handle anything.