A hop, skip and a jog – the benefits of running regularly

These days, you can’t swing a Pilates ring without hitting a new fitness fad. From bikram to barre, the market is dense with creative ways to elevate your heart rate and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Despite the hype, the best exercise regime still holds the throne – running. Running demands patient persistence and strength of body and mind, with countless benefits a byproduct. Here’s what you can expect as a regular runner. 

Mindfulness

Contrary to belief, mindfulness can be achieved outside the sacred surrounds of your quiet home, and can be found on the noisy sidewalks of your local neighbourhood. As the definition suggests, mindfulness is the mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

This couldn’t be truer of running, an activity where you and your running shoes are entirely absorbed in moving your body and clearing the path ahead. Other exercises can find you staring off into space and mentally creating a shopping list or compiling the activities you need to complete that day, not quite achieving that mindful peace.

Cardiovascular and toning

It’s often remarked that you can tell if someone is a runner based on their body build. The exercise of running elevates and holds your heart rate, eliciting an additional spike when you take on a hill or do interval training. These benefits contribute to a healthy heart and body, but it doesn’t end there. The movement of your arms as well as your feet and legs responding with the pavement actually do its part in toning. With many new exercises entering the market and honing in on one style or muscle area, running still hits the mark with addressing your cardio and toning needs for your entire body.

It’s accessible anywhere

If you’re one to hide behind a gym membership or circuit timetable, running may be what you need to cut through the noise and get you sweaty quicker. You can run anywhere without incurring a cost or inconvenience, and it’s actually a great way to experience a city or take in new sights. Don’t be bound to a rigid timetable or booking system, and hit the pavement when it makes sense for you and your lifestyle. If you work in an office where there is a shower available, take advantage of it and replace your commute with a morning run to boost your brain power.

Improvements to your sleep

Sleep is the ultimate commodity, and not nearly enough of us respect the quality and power it has over our lives. If you find yourself a little too nocturnal, running may be the full body workout that is going to wear you down to a point where you will sleep soundly and satisfied. Running will assist your sleep as your diaphragm grows accustomed to the cardio spike and your body starts to feel the temporary soreness in your limbs that have endured that track. Take this a step further by winding down long before you put your head to the pillow, and declare your room a device-free zone. Curiously, the more rested you are the easier your body will recover itself to a point where you can start running with greater regularity.

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There’s nothing to say you can’t jump with both feet into the new exercise styles that are flooding the market. Just stay aware that running will help you achieve your cardio and toning goals, and can be taken on anywhere you wish and even used as a mindfulness tool that enhances your sleep quality.

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