Why Should I Run?

By Asha Khan

I lift weights, so why should I run?

You do not need to be running 4 times a week at 6:00 in the morning to be classified as a Runner. If you have ever sped up enough to classify your movement as a jog…congratulations, you are a runner! Like any form of physical activity, running should not be painful. It should be challenging and leave you feeling fatigued but full of endorphins, not pain. Below are some of the physical benefits of going out for a jog – no matter how slow or how short it may be!

Increased aerobic capacity

Your aerobic capacity is the ability of your heart and lungs to move oxygen to your muscles effectively. Low intensity running helps train your heart and lungs to deliver oxygen to your working muscles. The more oxygen that is delivered, the longer and harder you can train. A low aerobic capacity can indicate that your body is struggling to move the oxygen and to metabolism the necessary carbohydrates and fats required during a workout. This can leave you feeling exhausted and like your muscles are on fire. By adding in slow running to your workout routine, you will build your aerobic capacity and find that your weightlifting performance improves as well as your ability to carry out day to day tasks. 

Joint, tendon and ligament strengthening

As you run the cartilage in your joints compresses and expands, drawing in oxygen to support the activity and the cartilage health. Healthy cartilage helps prevent against osteoarthritis which can be exacerbated by a lack of activity leading to weak and degenerating cartilage. Your joints are supported by ligaments and tendons which are in turn strengthened through running. However, just like with any exercise, injuries that may occur (rolling an ankle or twinging a knee) need to be rehabbed completely before returning to running. Injuries while running can be easily prevented by investing in properly supportive running shoes, running on softer surfaces where possible and cross-training to further strength the muscles and ligaments around your joints. 

Emotional benefits

There is a well-established link between physical activity and an improvement in mental health. Running causes significant changes in the ‘mood boosting’ neurotransmitters and these effects last well after we stop running. Running also allows you to slip into a meditative state as you concentrate on regulating your breathing and as your body moves through a repetitive motion. This has a calming effect on our minds as it is a lot harder to hold onto anxiety when you focus on pattern and repetition. This effect is also due to our parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest body system) which kicks into gear when we focus on deep and controlled breathing. Below are 10 emotional benefits of running as backed by studies from the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Psychology today and Anxiety and Depression Association of America among others. 

  1. Decreased symptoms of depression
  2. Increased learning abilities
  3. Sharpens your memory
  4. Protects your brain from aging
  5. Alleviates anxiety
  6. Improves sleep quality
  7. Boosts self esteem
  8. Reduces cravings for un-healthy foods
  9. Increases creativity
  10. Helps the brain recover from substance abuse. 

To see the greatest improvement in your overall health and wellbeing you should incorporate running into your exercise routine, along with strength training at 23W and regular stretching (why not try a yoga class) and foam rolling! 

If any of the previous information has helped convince you to give running a try the please come down to………..on Saturday 22nd of February for a 90 minute running workshop! To reserve your place head to https://23w.com.au/whats-on/

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Our founder

Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.

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