Benefits of Running - The Top 11

Runners love to brag about the benefits of running and no wonder! They are too good to keep a secret! I’m going to share my favorite reasons why I run and then you be sure to share yours in the comments!

My Top 11 Favorite Benefits of Running

1.  You can do it anywhere! No special equipment is needed as long as you have your preferred running shoes. This includes running while you are traveling which I think is so fulfilling! You will get to see new sights and people and will probably create some amazing memories that will stick with you if not highlight your trip or vacation! What form of exercise can you do anywhere? The fact that running can be done anywhere is one of the top benefits of running! Here are some tips that I have for running while traveling!

2.  You can run outside or from the comforts of your home if you own a treadmill. I’ve talked about the benefits of owning a treadmill here, and also we have treadmill workouts that you can do when the weather turns bad and you need to mix it up! The flexibility that running has can be added to the list of awesome benefits of running.

3.  You can eat carbs and get away with it! (somewhat) Of course it is all about balance! However, in order to sustain your running, which is considered a vigorous exercise you need carbohydrates to metabolize and fuel your running. This becomes more important as you train for longer distance races such as half and full marathons. This does not mean that if you are not a runner you should not eat carbohydrates! I do not abide by the idea that cutting out an entire macronutrient is good for your health. Maybe as a stepping stone to weight loss but not as a long term sustainable lifestyle habit. That’s a whole other topic thought so let’s not get carried away right now!

4.  You will sleep better! This should come with a footnote that says, you will sleep better if you are running early enough in the day. Running at night can have a “wake up” effect on your body and keep you up later. However running in the morning or afternoon will allow you to sleep more efficiently at night and remain in deep sleep for longer according to several studies.  So run at just to right time to reap in the benefits of running. :)

5.  The races are fun and keep you accountable and working towards your goals. It’s hard to have a goal to workout 4 times a week just for the sake of keeping fit and healthy. Of course that is the ideal! But having a running race on the calendar whether it be a 5K, 10K, half marathon or marathon where you have a training schedule, a deadline race day and money down for your entry will not only keep you accountable but will also make it easier for you to stick with an exercise schedule! Not only that, but races have such a fun atmosphere and vibe! Those moments just before the gun goes off, when the struggle gets real, and that final push to the finish is something that runners live for!  How's that for numerous benefits of running all wrapped up in one point?!

6.  You will have more energy. Does that seem like an oxymoron? As long as you are increasing your mileage or the amount of time spent running at a steady rate you will also see steady gains in your energy levels! You might have a tired feeling right after you finish a run but your total overall energy levels will increase! You will become more productive and efficient! Also, to make sure that your energy levels are where they need to be as a runner refer to my page on supplements that I recommend for runners.

7.  You will get an instant mood boost/stress relief. This is probably one of the best benefits of running! If you think about it, it’s true that runners love the run itself but what they really crave are those endorphins that come from running that affect the way you feel after a run. If you ever are having trouble going out for a run, focus on how you will feel afterwards and see if it is not easier to get the job done. The main reason for this improved mood boost is largely due to endorphins that are released during a run which actually act as an analgesic (gives pain relief but naturally). This is why running can be a huge benefit to those suffering from physical ailments but also from mental ailments such as depression!

8.  It makes it easy to hit your weekly exercise minutes target recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA). Here are the current recommendations on exercise time:

  • “At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150  OR
  • At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes;
  • OR a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity

           AND

  • Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.” (American Heart Association)

Running is considered a vigorous aerobic activity which means that potentially you can cut your weekly total minutes spent exercising in half and still gain cardiovascular health. Talk about efficiency! Be sure to include it with strength training 2 times per week. We talk about strength training for runners here. I like to include at least one full out strength training session per week and then do some add-on strength moves (here’s an arm add-on workout and here’s an upper body add-on workout) at the end of my runs combined with at least one day of HIIT training that will include strength moves as well.

9.  It allows you to think! This is a huge benefit in a world where there is constant noise. Of course you can listen to music or a podcast or audiobook but get in the habit of also running and letting your mind wander. Maybe you have a deep problem to ponder or maybe you have no idea what you have been thinking about for the last 32 minutes of your running. Your brain needs this break in all of the constant processing that it does all day long. Running will bring you more clarity and more creativity. It will allow you to become better at looking at problems through a different lens and opening your mind to things you would never even consider. Running is actually one of the few sports where you do not have to be strategically analyzing and thinking through moves and plays such as in soccer, football, tennis, golf, etc. Yes, those sports can be relaxing and incredibly enjoyable to play but you can’t let your mind wander as you can when you are running and that is the reason that you can experience more mental breakthroughs when you are simply out doing your thing on a daily run. 

10.  Although, you can multi-task! I absolutely love how running gives your mind a fresh outlook in your thoughts and struggles but I also love how you can still be learning new things and “reading”/listening to books while running. You get all the same benefits but now you are improving your mind at the same time! Try new podcasts, take advantage of all of the available audiobooks and become a more interesting person!  Now becoming a more interesting person - that has to be tops in the benefits of running! 

11.  You can cultivate better relationships and friendships through running. Running with others lets you bond with them and have some great conversations. I remember reading somewhere that people tend to have better conversations when they are both facing the same direction (for example sitting side by side) versus facing each other. There is supposedly more openness and candor and less intimidation and pressure. This is why a car ride can really bring out great conversation. Running gives you this chance to really connect with others if you have friends or a spouse who runs. Of course silently running together will also bring out feel-good feelings towards each other but having a conversation or small chit chat session will give you an authentic opportunity to improve your relationship as you run together side by side.


What benefits of running do you enjoy? Share so that we can convince everyone else that they are truly missing out! ;)

Related Pages to Benefits of Running:

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Resources used on this page:

https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20110614/exercise-improves-sleep-nighttime-breathing-troubles#2

https://draxe.com/what-are-endorphins/