Running comes with many great benefits

Bradynn Belcher, Campus Carrier staff writer

A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through Tiktok, and I started watching a man vlogging his 100 mile race. To my disbelief, he made it look incredibly easy. Apparently, I am easily influenced because after watching that, I ran to my roommate and begged her to run a half marathon, which is 13.1 miles, with me this summer.

Mind you, neither of us have any serious running experience. Up until that point, I think the most consecutive miles I have run in the 19 years I have been on this Earth was four miles. 

After thirty minutes of bribes, my roommate agreed to train with me. Now, we have been running almost every day for three weeks, and I have noticed some changes in myself that I think will convince you to take advantage of the Georgia spring weather and go outside to take a jog a few days a week.

Nothing compares to a runner’s high. The thought of running long distances used to make me sick. With no fear of exaggeration, I could list 200 activities I would rather do on a school morning than run more than three miles. I had this attitude until I acquired my first ‘runner’s high.’

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, exercise increases the ratio of endocannabinoids in the exerciser’s bloodstream. When these endocannabinoids move through the barrier between the bloodstream and the brain, they can produce short term effects such as reduced anxiety or feelings of calmness. 

When I have a busy week full of tests, practices, and a million other activities, taking 20 minutes to run on Viking Trail puts me in a much more positive mood, so much so that my friends have begun to notice.

Running also decreases cognitive decline. My grandmother recently passed away from Alzheimer’s Disease, so trust me when I say that I will do anything to nourish my brain to ensure that does not happen to me.

Luckily, I learned that any form of aerobic exercise can improve cognitive function. Runner’s World says that when humans reach their late 20s, they begin to lose brain tissue, but running can promote the growth of new brain tissue.

The article states that a study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that people who exercise regularly increased the volume or the hippocampus—which plays a big role in learning and memory—by two percent. After reading that, it was enough to convince me to actively take control of my brain function and go outside for a run.

Lastly, running improves cardiovascular health. This may be the most obvious health benefit of running, but nethertheless, it is important. 

According to the New York Department of Health, in the United States, about 1 in every 5 deaths is the result of a heart attack. However, runners are more prone to forgo this cause of death because a 2014 study from Connected Cardiology concluded that “runners were 45% less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than non-runners.”

Whether it be for your mind, body or posterity, go outside and run.

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