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The health benefits of regular running

Discover the health benefits of regular running and how to stay safe when jogging outdoors.

Cardiovascular fitness

One of the main benefits of regular running is improved cardiovascular fitness – the health of your heart and blood vessels.

Running and other aerobic exercises like cycling and swimming are referred to as cardiovascular conditioning – or ‘cardio’ for short. This is because the rapid, repetitive movements raise the heart rate, strengthening this all-important muscle and increasing the flow of oxygen through the body. Regular running will help to keep your heart healthy and protect against cardiovascular disease.

Cardio also helps to improve lung health and joint strength and reduce the risk of chronic illness.

Weight management

Like all forms of exercise, running burns calories. As a calorie deficit is the secret to weight loss, regular running can be a useful aid in weight management.

Make sure you’re maintaining a healthy diet that supports your cardio efforts. Carbohydrates are essential for runners as they boost your glycogen – slow-release energy – stores. You should also eat eggs and/or red meat to help muscle repair and development and refuel with sugar during long runs.

Mental wellbeing

In addition to the physical health benefits, running can support your mental well-being too. This is because running releases feel-good chemicals endorphins and serotonin in the body, especially when done outside in the fresh air rather than on a treadmill. It can also help us focus and improve sleep.

Regular running supports your self-esteem, lessens stress, calms a racing mind and helps to prevent the development of depression and other mental health issues.

How to stay safe when running outdoors

Especially when the sun is shining, an outdoor run will make you feel incredible – body and mind. However, it’s important to take precautions to stay safe when running outdoors.

When running on public pathways, look out for potholes and uneven surfaces that could cause you to trip and fall. You can make a claim for financial compensation against the council if this occurs, but it’s best to avoid the chance of injury! You must also be aware of road traffic and, where possible, run in pedestrian areas like parks and country lanes.

Having the right gear is also all-important for running outdoors. Whatever season or time of day, wear something reflective so that you are easily visible from a distance. In the winter, be sure to wrap up warm to keep your body temperature stable and your muscles relaxed.

Proper running shoes are a must to support your joints, as are special running clothes made from breathable sweat-wicking fabric that won’t chafe against your skin.

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