Running might not be for everyone, however June 1 marks the country’s National Running Day. So we got Natasha Bailey to talk us through the health benefits that it brings.

Photo: Daniel Kwon/Flickr.
Photo: Daniel Kwon/Flickr.

I first started running because I wanted to lose weight – and running is fab for just that. But, as the months went by and the more I ran, I realised there are so many more benefits than that. I used to hate running like many other people out there, but these perks that I experienced made me want to give it a go and push myself that little bit further with each and every step.

So what are these benefits?

‘Runner’s high’: The first thing I noticed was the improvement in my mood – running makes you happy by releasing certain hormones. This is often called the ‘runners high’.

Helps anxiety: As someone who has struggled with anxiety for years, I have found that moderate exercise, particularly running, is a great coping method. Maybe it’s the scenic route, or the fact that you’re able to clear your mind – whatever it is, it could make all the difference.

Better sleep: I struggle a lot with sleeping, and usually only manage 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night. However, since running, the quality of my sleep has improved so much, which means I can handle days a lot better too!

Live longer: The more you run, the longer you live. It’s claimed those who run at least three times a week can actually add years onto their lives!

Period pain solution: For any ladies reading this, exercising regularly can, and will, help you cope with period pains and other nasty side effects. Bonus!

Glowing skin: Do you dream of having a glowing, clear complexion that you can show off to your friends? Then forget all those creams and lotions – running or any regular exercise is your answer, and is a lot cheaper too! This is because exercise stimulates circulation in your body, which flushes out all those nasty toxins meaning, over time, your skin will become visibly clearer.

Medical hero: Running on a regular basis can reduce your risk of many health problems such as strokes, type two diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, high blood pressure, some cancers and so much more. Running also strengthens your bones, muscles and joints.

A younger brain: Running regularly can help reduce your chances of being affected by mental decline, which is caused by ageing.

Reducing stress: Running is one of the best ways of de-stressing. Even if you are the type to stress over the smallest of things, a run can help you to let it go and relax. Top tip: I find running either early in the morning or in the evening the best as you get to see the most amazing sunrises and sunsets – what more could you want?

Friends and animals: Running with a friend could be good for you if the thought of running alone is a scary concept. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of friendly competition. If you’re not a people person, or have a pet dying to get out of the house, then why not run with a dog? Animals also benefit greatly from regular exercise and spending time with man’s best friend is another great coping method for anxiety, stress and other mental illnesses.

Weight loss and after burn: Everyone knows running is a great way to lose weight as it’s a great form of cardio. However, did you know that your body carries on burning calories even after you’ve finished exercising? It is known as EPOC, or Excess Post Oxygen Consumption, and the more you run the more effective it is!

So if you’re intrigued, or you’re looking for another fitness fix for the summer, why not take 10, 15 or even 30 minuets out of your day on June 1 and start your own running journey? Whether you can run for hours, or if it’s minutes before you need a quick break, I can guarantee you’ll soon feel the well-deserved benefits!