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smhnbl
Old 01-09-17, 07:09 PM
Health Benefits of Running a 5K
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// BENEFITS OF RUNNING

Running is enormously beneficial for you. If you have just taken up running, congratulate yourself on having made the right decision.

OVERALL MENTAL HEALTH: Runners are happy people. We’ve got that runner high thing going for us. Just don’t make us unhappy by canceling a race that we’ve trained months and months for. That’s one way to turn a runner’s smile upside down.

STRENGTHENS YOUR LUNGS: Runners have increased lung capacity from logging mile after mile. Those strong lungs come in handy if you ever find yourself on the other side of the race as a spectator. A runner's “WOOHOO!” is loud and proud.

HELPS PREVENT HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: Your arteries expand and contract while running, helping to keep your arteries fit, which in turn keeps your blood pressure in a normal range. That is, until you find out that your favorite running shoe has been discontinued. Nothing is harder to replace than a beloved running shoe!

STRENGTHENS IMMUNE SYSTEM: Regular running builds up your tolerance to germs, which results in fewer minor illnesses. That is, unless you are training for a marathon. Then you will be sick all the time.

WEIGHT CONTROL: Running burns mega calories. However, it makes you megahungry, especially if you are training for long distances. Running doesn't give you a pass to eat all the food, all the time.

PHYSICALLY STRONG LEGS: Runners’ legs are a powerhouse. They move you from point A to B. They carry you up and down hills. They know how to put it into high gear at the track. They also will have a hard time fitting into skinny jeans when you are in the thick of marathon training.

RELIEVES STRESS: Running boasts the brain’s serotonin levels, which makes you calmer and more relaxed. Who says you can’t run away from your problems?

INCREASED BONE DENSITY: Running stresses your bones. Essential minerals are sent to the bones when under stress, which makes them stronger. However, running does not make you unbreakable. You still can break a bone by thinking you can jump a ten-foot high fence.

INCREASED JOINT STRENGTH AND STABILITY: Running increases the strength of your ligaments and tendons. You’ll find your joints able to withstand more mileage and more uneven terrain. But that doesn’t mean you will never sprain your ankle again while trail running. It just may mean four weeks on crutches versus eight weeks if you didn’t run.

INCREASED CONFIDENCE: Once you start running, your confidence begins to grow. You’ll feel more in control of your life and your body. You will even begin to think you look good in spandex tights.

// HOW YOUR BODY REACTS TO RUNNING

Have you ever thought about what goes on in your body while you run? If you are interested, we have the answer.

IN THE FIRST FEW SECONDS: Your muscles start using adenosine triphosphate (ATP), energy molecules your body makes from food.

That burst of power you feel? It's ATP converting into another high-powered molecule, adenosine diphosphate (ADP). Muscle cells—expert recyclers—will turn ADP back into ATP after the initial surge.

IN THE FIRST 90 SECONDS: In order to unleash more ATP, your cells break down glycogen, a form of glucose fuel stored in your muscles. Cells also pull glucose directly from your blood (one reason exercise is helpful in fending off high blood sugar).

Your body gobbles more glucose, and your muscles release lactic acid—also known as the burn in the age-old workout mantra "feel the burn"—which signals the brain that you're under physical stress.

IN THE NEXT FEW MINUTES: Your heart starts beating faster and directing blood toward your muscles and away from functions you don't need at the moment, such as digestion

To make the best use of glucose, your muscle cells require an influx of oxygen. Cue heavy breathing.

As you hit your stride, your body's biggest muscle, the gluteus maximus (i.e., your butt), your legs, and your core help keep you upright, control your gait, and extend your hip joints so your feet can push off the ground.

You begin to torch calories (in general, runners work through about 100 per mile), including some that might have been stored as fat.

All this burning of glycogen and oxygen raises your body temperature. To cool you down, your circulatory system diverts blood flow to your skin, lending you a healthy flush. Your sweat glands start releasing moisture to keep you from overheating.

WITHIN 10 MINUTES: If you're in decent shape, your muscles and their ATP supply are ample, and your body can efficiently shuttle oxygen and burn fat and glucose. You feel strong.

If, however, you've been slacking on exercise, your ATP supply can't keep up with the demand. You can't suck in or process oxygen fast enough, and lactic acid starts to the flood-your body. Every minute feels more like a slog.

AFTER 30 MINUTES: Whew! It's over. As you slow to a walk, your energy demand falls and your breathing rate gradually returns to normal.

Chances are, you feel energized. Your brain has triggered a rush of the mood-elevating hormone dopamine. The effect of exercise can be so great that it can even decrease chocolate cravings. (Don't worry—even if you still indulge in the sweet stuff, you've created some room in your glycogen stockpile, so those extra calories are less likely to be converted into fat.)
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