New Health Advisor

What Are the Benefits of Running in Long Distance?

Dec 14, 2017

Starting o run will help you lose weight and leave you feeling more athletic, but do you know about the other benefits of running? Long distance running isn't for everyone and can be quite challenging physically and mentally, but when you learn about all the benefits of it, you might want to give it a try and stick with it. Read on to learn why you should start running more and tips to keep you on track with your running goals. 

What Are the Benefits of Long Distance Running? 

1. Good for cardiovascular health

Cardio exercising, like running, can help prevent heart disease, artery disease and reduce your risk of heart attack. When you run regularly, you have more control over your blood pressure as well as ensuring your heart functions properly. When the heart functions properly, your blood circulation is improved and all the areas of your body get the proper supply of blood they need. 

2. You sleep better

Running will help you sleep more soundly through the night. You won't just benefit from a better night's sleep, you'll fall asleep faster, sleep longer without waking and experience a deeper and more restful sleep. A better night's sleep means you'll be able to focus and concentrate better the next day. 

3. Improves your mood

Running release endorphins and endocannabinoids which are hormones that keep you happy and calm. This “runners high” is due to the natural variant of THC which is a similar compound that is found in marijuana. Not only will you feel less anxious and happier, but you'll laugh more too. 

4. Improves brain function

Running can help reduce your risk of some brain diseases, especially those related to memory. When you run, your brain has to work hard from the body's demand to be proprioceptive and tactile. Many runners have the ability to process information and remember direction or instruction much better than those who don't run. 

5. Reduces knee pain

One of the more surprising benefits of long distance running is that it is good for you knees. While many believe the constant impact and stress running put on the knees can increase the risk of injury, it actually can help reduce knee pain. Running supplies the knee joints, ligaments, and bones with constant oxygen which can also help prevent osteoarthritis. 

6 Good for your hearing

You might not notice but once you start running, you'll notice your hearing improves. The increase and improved circulation of blood flow results in more blood reaching your ears. This means your eardrums will be able to function better and allow you to hear more range in frequencies.

7. Great for men's health

For men, running helps increase testosterone levels in the body. The increase of testosterone improve sperm count and can lead to greater sex drive. 

8. Stronger bones

Your bones benefit in a number of ways with long distance running. Running helps you regularly train your bones using the weight of your body, which can increase bone mass, making them stronger and bigger.

9. Boosts the immune system

Since running can help improve the functions of your vital organs and your whole body, your immune system also gets a boost. Running can help you fight off various disease and eliminate harmful bacteria and germs that enter the body. Once you start long distance running, you will find you are sick less. 

10. Helps fight depression

Running for 30 or more minutes a day can help reduce signs of depression. The endorphins that are released help lift your mood and running also reduces kynurenine. Kynurenine is an amino acid that has been linked to causing depression. 

11. Longer life

One of the key benefits of long distance running is that you can increase your life expectancy. With all the improvements, you can benefit your overall health and add years to your life. It doesn't matter when you start running, just do it.

12. Reduces risk of cancers

One of the best ways you can naturally fight off the risk of cancer is by running. Long distance running helps improve and strengthen the antibodies in the body that fight against cancer.

Tips for Long Distance Running

While distance running offers various benefits for your overall health, there are some things you should be aware of. Running will lead to your body producing more sweat which can often lead to dehydration, especially on hot and humid days. Runners are often at a greater risk for injuries like sprains or muscle strains. Many of these injuries can be avoided with proper warming up and stretching before and after running. Another concern is your exposure to allergens and drying of the airways which can result in asthma. To reduce your risk for these concerns and help you stick with a regular running routine, keep in mind these tips and suggestions. 

1. Prepare mentally

Having a positive mindset is the first step in long distance running. Repeat to yourself that you can finish the run and visualize yourself doing so. When you speak negatively to yourself while you run such as telling yourself how hard it is or that you just can't finish, your run will be harder than it actually is. 

2. Stay hydrated and eat right

When it comes to getting all the benefits of long distance running, you need to fuel your body properly. For long runs, carbs are what you want to consume, like oatmeal which will supply you with energy to get through your runs and are easy on the stomach. Staying hydrated is equally important as proper hydration will help you break down the carbs and convert them into energy as well as keep your body functioning properly. 

3. Pacing yourself is vital

You don't want to overdo yourself when you are running for long distance and one way you can avoid this is by pacing yourself. You want to be able to run at a pace that allows you to finish the run instead of going strong at the beginning and then being worn out halfway through. 

4. Break up your run

Thinking of the distance you are going to run can seem overwhelming and impossible to complete. Instead of looking a the total distance you are running, break it up into equals sections. It will be easier to think about finishing your run when you think of it in smaller distances. If you need to walk during your long run, then allow yourself a few minutes break. 

5. Fuel while you run

When you run for longer distances that will take you over an hour to complete, then you want to consider ways to fuel your body during the run. There are a variety of chews, powder drinks, nuts, or dried fruits that you want to eat during your run. Choose something that will be easy on your stomach and don’t forget to sip on water throughout your run as well. 

6. Recovery

After a long run, it is important to replenish your body. Eat a meal that is high in protein, healthy fats and carbs. You want to also replenish your electrolytes if you have sweated a lot, so try have a small beer when you finish your run. Keep your legs loose as well to avoid injury and recover faster.