Physical fitness is essential for health and efficiency. Running is among the favorite means for millions of people. In fact, it is fascinating to note that running has been the favorite choice for centuries.
Quoting a survey conducted in 2014, Guardian says that there were 10.5 million runners in UK alone whose reasons for running included “maintaining fitness”, “stress relief, “a new challenge” and “competition”. Psychologists studying ultra-marathon runners recently concluded that the motivation was not muscle-building or chasing PBs, but attaining the state of mind known as “flow”.
However, another study of 3,500 runners across seven European countries, revealed that 40% of them ran for the sole purpose of losing weight. However, it is not easy to achieve weight-loss just by running, for, theoretically speaking, losing 0.45kg involves burning off 3,500 calories, the equivalent of about 35 miles of running.
One of the reasons is that, the more we exercise, the more the body naturally tries to compensate by altering our metabolism through a series of evolutionary-based protective mechanisms which are designed to prevent starvation and indefinite weight loss.
There was another interesting study conducted by Dr. Beth Taylor of Hartford University, found health benefits of running. It found that the marathon runners were significantly thinner than their partners, although few of the partners were overweight. The runners also generally had lower blood pressure, heart rates, bad cholesterol and other indicators of cardiac health.
Over all, according to Dr. Taylor’s study, if you’re training for a marathon or otherwise doing frequent and prolonged endurance exercise, you’re probably not hurting your heart and are likely strengthening it.
Perhaps the more surprising takeaway of the study is that marathon training’s cardiac benefits may be transferable. “The spouses of the runners were quite healthy, too,” she pointed out. More so than many people, they walked and moved around frequently, and had generally robust cardiac risk profiles.
If you want improved heart health but can’t be a runner, marry one, is Dr. Taylor’s conclusion.