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- What is running?
- What's the history of running?
- Why run?
- What are the health benefits of running?
- What are the fitness benefits of running?
- What about running and burning fat?
- What about running and losing weight?
- What about running vs. walking for weight loss?
- What about running outdoors vs. a treadmill?
- What about the risk of running injuries?
- How much running do I need to do?
- What are proper running techniques?
- What shoes should I wear when running?
- What type of foot strike do I have?
- What are some other tips on buying running shoes?
- What type of clothing should be worn during running?
- How do I go about getting started?
- Where can I find resources on running?
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- Newsman: Sir, why are you running?
- 1st Reporter: Why are you running?
- 2nd Reporter: Are you doing this for world peace?
- 3rd Reporter: Are you doing this for women's rights?
- Newsman: Or for the environment?
- Reporter: Or for animals?
- 3rd Reporter: Or for nuclear arms?
- 2nd Reporter: Why are you doing this?
- Forrest Gump: I just felt like running.
There's a bug about running that you catch. It could be the exhilaration of propelling your body through space, or the pounding on the ground that sends sensation up your bones all the way to the pleasure centers in your brain, or it could simply be the sheer satisfaction of having done something good for yourself. Whatever it is, running can be addictive. The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi might describe the experience of running as "flow," the state of mind in which you are fully immersed in what you are doing. Or it could be what William Glasser calls, "positive addiction," where you perform a repetitive activity without self-criticism or judgment that has a beneficial effect on your mind and body.
What are the health benefits of running?
The benefits of vigorous exercise are well described. The American College of Sports Medicine Position Statement on Exercise is a document chock-full of studies proving that vigorous exercise yields plenty of health benefits. One of the major points of the position statement is that there is a dose response to exercise; that is, the more you do, or the harder you do it, the more benefit you accrue. But this point is not to discount moderate exercise. You get plenty of benefit from moderate exercise, it's just that vigorous exercise seems to accrue even more benefit. The ACSM report makes it clear that "many significant health benefits are achieved by going from a sedentary state to a minimal level of physical activity; [but] programs involving higher intensities and/or greater frequency/durations provide additional benefits. For example, it was shown in one study that individuals who ran more than 50 miles per week had significantly greater increases in HDL cholesterol (the good fat) and significantly greater decreases in body fat, triglyceride levels, and the risk of coronary heart disease than individuals who ran less than 10 miles per week. In addition, the long-distance runners had a nearly 50% reduction in high blood pressure and more than a 50% reduction in the use of medications to lower blood pressure and plasma cholesterol levels."