How Does Running Improve Heart Health?
Exercise is a vital part of living a long and healthy life, and running is one of the most effective exercises to achieve this. There is a good reason why we at Mio Super Health devote an entire category to running: it has many great benefits.
Medical Daily lists a few of the everyday health benefits associated with running:
1. Better brain performance – Running is a form of exercise and is thus able to increase the flow of oxygen-rich blood to various parts of the body, including the brain. This ensures optimum brain performance, even for those getting old.
2. Better mood – Many runners attest to the so-called runner’s high, or that euphoric feeling or mood boost that occurs once a good run has been finished. This boost in mood is said to be caused by increased levels of endocannabinoids, the brain chemicals that signal pleasure.
3. Better sleep – A good run, especially in the morning, helps runners sleep better later in the night. Even an afternoon or early evening run, which causes a spike in body temperature, can lead to a good night’s sleep later on, as the post-exercise drop in body temperature can help the body fall asleep.
Running is also good for your cardiovascular health, with runners having a 45% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality, according to medical data from Health IQ. This decreased susceptibility to possibly fatal cardiovascular conditions is largely due to improved heart health, which is yet another big benefit of running.
The study ’Cardiovascular Aspects of Running’ considers running as a “highly aerobic activity that utilizes both fatty acids and carbohydrates for energy.” It states that runners have what is called athlete’s heart, which is a highly capable organ. An athlete’s heart is far more efficient compared to the heart of non-runners or sedentary people, as it has an increased ability to pump more blood per beat to the different parts of the body.
Moreover, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Alphonse DeLucia points out that running reduces your risk of heart disease by 35–55% by preventing blood clots in the arteries and blood vessels which can lead to a potentially life-threatening heart attack. Running also helps ensure healthy blood flow, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
Dr. DeLucia further mentions that running strengthens the heart muscle, which she notes is the most important muscle of the body. She then explains that running affects the heart muscle in the same way that strength training affects muscles such as the biceps and triceps. She offers this analogy: The more bicep curls a person performs, the bigger and stronger the biceps get. The same principle holds true for the heart muscle. The more a person runs, the stronger the heart muscle becomes. “Overtime, running strengthens the walls of the heart,” says Dr. DeLucia, “which increases its overall efficiency.” Take a look on nationalwellnesscenter
’Exercise and Cardiovascular Health’ which was published on Health US News categorizes running as one of the safest and most effective exercises. The benefits include the following:
• Running reduces body fat. This reduction in body fat helps prevent atherosclerosis, or the narrowing of blood vessels due to the accumulation of fats.
• It improves blood pressure. Lowering blood pressure to normal levels means the heart is subjected to less strain and is less prone to heart attacks.
• It lowers glucose levels.
• It helps increase the production of HDL or “good cholesterol.” HDL collects excess cholesterol in the walls of arteries, thus keeping it free from blockage.
• It helps decrease production of LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and artery-clogging triglycerides. LDL can accumulate in the walls of arteries, which can cause blockage, and over time, a heart attack.
Running is one of the best exercises for improving health, both physical and mental. If you need any other explanations on why running is effective look at our article ’The Perks of Going for a Run Outdoors’.