Lasting benefits from running

By Denise Turney
Runners reap rewards other athletes don’t. A clear mind, lower stress levels and a healthy, slender physique are byproducts of running long distances. Run at a 10-mile per hour pace and you can burn more than 310 calories. Depending on your body weight, you might burn considerably more calories.

Exercise isn’t the only running benefit

Your endorphins rise while you’re cortisol levels lower. Raise your endorphins and you’ll feel better, happier. Endorphins are brain neurotransmitters that send electrical signals throughout your nervous system. As these chemicals (endorphins) are released your immune system improves, your libido may be stimulated and your mood may rise. Endorphins also help you deal with stress and pain.

Those are good things, all which you can get from running.

Raising your cortisol levels isn’t so good. In fact, heightened cortisol levels can cause you to feel tired, even after you’ve gotten 8 or more hours of restful sleep. You might also have difficulty thinking clearly, feel jittery, gain weight and/or raise your blood pressure if your cortisol levels remain high for too long. Staying in these prolonged states is dangerous. Blood tests are generally performed to determine your cortisol levels.

These benefits might explain why long distance runners experience what some refer to as “runners high”. Sporting a thinner frame offers another benefits — an improved self-image. Add in championship competitions, similar to those Raymond Clarke (star character in “Love Pour Over Me”) races in, and your self-esteem and self-image can be strengthened even more.

Even more, running is fun. Cover 10 or more miles and you can see parts of your community you might not otherwise have learned about. Start and end routes in different locations, and you could learn enough about these areas to pad your bank account by writing and selling real life and/or travel articles.

Because your head clears while you’re running, answers to problems you’ve been dealing with may bubble to the surface. It’s these benefits that make running more than an exercise regimen, that make running a gift, a blessing.

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