Ricardo Abad, famed ultrarunner from Spain, once ran 607 marathons in just as many days. He did this while holding a full-time job at a factory.
What he did was absolutely extraordinary. But you don’t have to go that extreme to reap the benefits of long distance running.
It’s not an easy sport and there are risks, especially if you’re not careful. However, when done correctly, it does wonders for body and mind. Keep reading to learn about 9 impressive benefits of long distance running.
1. Endurance Training
This might just be one of the most sought after jogging benefits. They simply want to improve their condition and endurance.
Sometimes, the goal is just to be able to run farther and faster. Many of us, however, play other sports, such as hockey, basketball, and soccer. People with high endurance will have a clear advantage over others, especially in the second half of a game.
You don’t have to be into sports, either. Physical conditioning is important for laborers, first responders, soldiers, and lovers, too.
2. Stress Relief
Stress and anxiety are all too common in today’s world. We have pressure from work, relationships, finances, and even just turning the news can be triggering.
There is nothing more annoying than being told to go for a run when you’re feeling down. Unfortunately, it might be just what you need.
The release of dopamine, endorphin, and other feel-good neurotransmitters is one of the most significant benefits of running.
3. Prevent Insulin Resistance
For years, Americans have been developing type 2 diabetes at an alarming rate. This is a metabolic disease characterized by insulin resistance that leads to persistent high blood sugar. Over time, this leads to serious organ damage.
Diet and exercise form part of the treatment of every diabetic patient. It’s also important for preventing it.
This is because when muscles are in movement, they activate a protein called GLUT4. This is a glucose transporter that brings sugar from the blood into the muscle to be used as a fuel. This puts less of a strain on insulin use.
4. Stronger Legs
Running requires you to use the majority of the muscles in your body. The main leg muscle groups include the quads, hamstrings, calf muscles, hip flexors, and everybody’s favorite, the glutes.
Strengthening and stretching these muscles is important to everyone, particularly athletes. It makes it easier to move around.
Plus, strengthening your muscles is a good way to fortify the joints and bones.
5. Toned Core
It isn’t only good for your legs. Proper running will require you to engage your core, as well.
When we run, our back, abs, chest, and oblique muscles are the unsung heroes. It seems like the legs do all the work but the core is what keeps it all together. They are important for stabilization.
It takes a little bit of practice. If you’re nonchalantly trodding along, chances are you won’t be engaging your core as much as you could.
6. Long-Term Fat Burning
Running isn’t just a good way to keep blood sugar under control. It can help you burn unwanted fat over time.
Sure, it burns calories. However, getting in the habit of long distance running will train your body to fat as a fuel source.
This might help you lose weight and slim down. But more importantly, it can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.
One thing we love about running is that it is for everybody. It doesn’t matter where you come from or who you are, everyone is welcome. Sure, fancy running shoes can be expensive but they are not a requirement.
Want to run but worried about the cold weather where you live. Suit up and get a cold weather running headband.
Plus, this is an inclusive sport that welcomes people of all abilities and special needs. Running benefits everybody.
We’ve alluded to the cardiovascular benefits earlier. Regular running has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
This is through reduced cholesterol, blood pressure, and a chance of clotting. These are all risk factors for heart attack that can be lowered through long distance running.
9. Mental Fortitude
Sure, being a champion runner requires toned muscles, cardiopulmonary resistance, and flawless technique.
However, many runners will point to mental toughness as being the number one factor. Most of the time, you will be running just for the sake of running. There will be no crowd, trophy, or congratulations at the end.
How are you going to motivate yourself to keep challenging yourself? How does running change your body and mind?
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
For people who have never been into long-distance running, it can be hard to understand. Why would anyone put themselves through that unless perhaps, they were running away from a bear?
Maybe it is something you have to experience for yourself. But believe us when we say that every runner feels like quitting now and then.
However, we find the strength to fight through. Many runners credit the sport for giving them an attitude adjustment that helped them change their lives for the better.
How Many Miles Should I Run a Week to Stay Healthy?
When it comes to creating your own routine, it is important to remember that everyone is different. If you think you might have any type of medical condition, it is important to talk to your doctor about the possible risk and benefits.
Generally, we recommend starting off slow and building up, especially if you are new to the sport.
Maximizing the Benefits of Long Distance Running
You might not be able to outrun your problems. But running might actually help you solve some of them.
The proven benefits of long distance running are plenty. However, practicing it is easier said than done. It will take some dedication, preparation, and know-how.
Are you serious about getting into shape? Check out our blog for more articles about health and fitness.