Keep Your Joints Healthy To Stay Active

November 7, 2012

Why Do You Run?

There are many mornings when I wake up, and I really don’t want to go for a run. The sheets are so warm and cozy, it might be chilly and damp outside, or even still dark out depending on the time of year. I’ll often start bargaining with myself, trading my run for one more round of the snooze button, a more leisurely morning, and a promise to run later in the day (which I never do). Every once in a while I give into my lazier self, but most days now I drag myself out of bed, lace up my running shoes and get out there. Without fail, these are the days that always go the best. By the time my run is over, I am not only completely awake but also alert and refreshed. I feel energized for the rest of the day, more physically and mentally well, and simply more able to face the challenges of the day.

There are lots of reasons to stay physically active. It’s better for your overall health of course, and helps maintain everything from your heart and lungs to a healthy body weight. It also gives many people a psychological boost too. I know all of these reasons, but at the end of the day, I run because it simply makes me feel good.

The Physical Benefits of Staying Active

Engaging in some kind of physical activity every day, such as running, has a host of physical benefits. Some of them include:

  • Burning calories. For every mile you run, depending on your pace, you will burn anywhere between 90 and 125 calories.
  • Cardiovascular health. Any kind of aerobic exercise will increase the elasticity of your arteries and lower your blood pressure, which lessens your risk of heart disease.
  • Bone density. Your bones, especially those in your legs and hips, will become stronger, as well as your muscles.

You will also find that you may sleep better and more restfully, breathe more easily and generally have more strength, energy and endurance.

 The Mental Benefits of Staying Active

Being physically active isn’t just good for our bodies; it is also good for our minds. Sure, there is the satisfaction of knowing that you have done something good for yourself, but there are much more concrete mental benefits too.

  • Physical activity causes the feel-good chemical serotonin to be released in the brain, which effectively relieves stress and makes you feel calmer.
  • Running is a particularly good way to encourage the brain to release beta-endorphins, a type of neurotransmitter, which relieves pain and produces feelings of euphoria. Not only do these provide runners an additional sense of happiness and well-being after a run (often called a “runner’s high”), they are so powerful they can actually fight depression.
  • Exercise improves focus and concentration. Running every day requires dedication and mental toughness to stick to a regimen, and this builds character. Also by improving circulation, you have more blood flowing to and nourishing your brain.

Running is also a great way to improve your self-esteem and to widen your social circles.

Keep your Joints Healthy to Stay More Active

When you make the effort to keep your joints healthy, you are also ensuring that you can keep up your active lifestyle. If you pay attention to your body, notice when you are sore or stiff, and make the effort to correct the problem quickly, you will be able to keep up your activity level and pursue your physical goals. On the other hand, if you ignore pain or injuries, you can hurt yourself more seriously. This can lead to being unable to run or otherwise exercise in the future, or for a long period of time while you heal. Take care of your joints and they will take care of you, ensuring that you will have many happy years and decades of running ahead of you!

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