There are many fantastic benefits in store when you start running, but sometimes you can’t see all the best aspects of a 5K fitness program. From a better social life to a strengthened immune system, runners are claiming a lot for themselves these days. If you’re on the fence about an exercise program, look over this list and find out how you can change your life by starting a 5K training program.
1. Much Love. Your heart benefits from an exercise plan in more ways than one. As you train, blood and oxygen flow through your body more efficiently, decreasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. Don’t forget the social aspects of running, either. Becoming part of a running community is a major benefit of a 5K training club. You never know who you will meet as you set (and accomplish) goals with the members of your running club. So open that healthy heart to all the possibilities!
2. No More Sick Days. Pursuing a 5K training plan will strengthen your immune system, helping prevent minor illnesses like the common cold and upper respiratory infections. How does this work? Running circulates protective cells through the body at a faster rate. These cells attack and eliminate viruses and bacteria. It’s like your body has the best defensive line in the league, and those pesky microorganisms can’t even get close to the red zone. Take that, germs!
3. Feel It In Your Bones. Running increases bone density, which will fend off osteoporosis. Runners are also at decreased risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knees as a continued commitment to 5K training. Of course, running also helps you maintain a healthy weight, something to note when remembering the risk of knee osteoarthritis multiplies for obese individuals.
4. Find a Cure for Cancer. Want to make a difference, but don’t have a degree in medicine? Explore the altruistic side of the 5K and run for a cause. A number of races benefit cancer charities such as the National Children’s Cancer Society, the American Cancer Society, and the American Institute for Cancer Research. Don’t forget that running reduces your risk of contracting certain types of cancer. Colon, endometrial, breast and lung cancer are among the strains that runners avoid more often than the general population.
5. Just Breathe. Running strengthens your lungs. The deep breaths you take when working on your 5K training plan force your body to utilize some of that lung potential that normally goes unrealized. Even former smokers can sometimes restore lung potential through running.
6. Stop Time. Running keeps you young and spry! A research team from the Stanford University School of Medicine determined that running can help you live longer and improve your quality of life. Led by James Fries, MD, researchers tracked 538 runners over the age of 50 and judged them against a group of 423 similar folks who were non-runners. As the years went by, disability levels were considerably lower in the runners, and nineteen years into the study, 34% of the non-runners had passed away compared to only 15% of the runners.
7. Work of Art. Running makes you pretty. No kidding – as running improves your circulation and flushes out waste products, the happy consequence is a gorgeous, clear complexion. You can also count on the fat burned through running to help you lose weight and tone muscles. Running burns a whopping 705-865 calories/hour. You will appreciate that gorgeous creature smiling at you in the mirror – an image worthy of the Louvre.
8. Euphoria. Endorphins released by the pituitary gland during cardiovascular exercise make you feel fabulous. Running has even been used by mental health professionals to treat depression and other psychological disorders. So hop on the trail and get “high” – a runner’s high, that is.
9. Smarty Pants. Sticking with a 5K training plan has the added benefit of boosting the blood flow to your brain, feeding your cerebellum added oxygen and nutrients. This means improved thinking, learning potential and memory. If you actually aspire to be more productive at work, your 5K training plan will do the trick!
10. Yes, You Can. Running gives you confidence and makes you feel more capable of reaching established goals. When you cross the finish line of a 5K run, it brings you a sense of accomplishment that is hard to match. Once you realize just how competent and extraordinary you are, it allows you to dream big in every area of your life.
Whether you know it or not, the benefits of running extend far beyond strong limbs and impressive race times. Become the person you dreamed you’d be with a 5K program.