10 Reasons to Lace Up Your Sneakers on National Running Day

Running is good for you from head to toe. Here are 10 reasons why.

Okay, okay, just because a day is dubbed National Running Day, which happens to be today, doesn’t mean you’re going to want to head out and run a marathon this afternoon. But starting up or maintaining a running routine is super important! To get you motivated to move today, we put together a list of 10 science-backed reasons why running is good for your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Knowledge is power, right? So let’s run with it.

1. Keep your noggin in tip-top shape.
via New York Times

Justin S. Rhodes, a psychology professor at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, found that exercise was able to slow or reverse the decay of the brain, grow new cells and prevent older cells from dying. Otherwise the brain, like any other tissue in the body, declines in function.

2. Your eyes will thank you.
via Health

Two studies from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that running at least 2.5 miles or more per day reduced the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

3. Add years to your ticker.
via Wired

Add five years or more to your life! That’s what the Copenhagen City Heart Study found out. Running as little as 20 minutes per day, three days a week at a slow to moderate pace was good enough to increase life span.

4. Recall the names of all your co-workers and their birthdays.
via Fitbie

A 2011 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that older adults who exercised regularly increased the volume of their hippocampus (where learning and memory storage take place) by 2 percent when compared to inactive peers.

5. Aching knees? Say what?
via NPR

Contrary to popular belief, joint ache should NOT be an excuse for not running! The Boston University School of Medicine found that patients with osteoarthritis (joint disease) seldom exercised. And they found that running is actually healthy for joints.

6. Stay happy-go-lucky.
via Runner’s World

Running (and aerobic exercise in general) produces seratonin and norepinephrine, which keeps your outlook brighter and happier. In some cases, it does the job better than antidepressants, which are designed to increase the same chemicals.

7. Burn, baby, burn … more calories.
via Women’s Health

A study by the Medical College of Wisconsin and the VA Medical Center found that sweating on the treadmill at a fast pace burned between 705 to 865 calories in an hour, while the stair-stepper clocked in at between 637 and 746, the rower between 606 and 739, the cross-country ski machine between 595 and 678, and the stationary bike between 498 and 604.

8. Ward off future calamities.
via AARP

Multiple studies have found that a regular exercise regime, including running, decreases the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s (because of all the good stuff happening to your brain, mentioned above), heart disease, cancer and more.

9. Say goodbye to the munchies.
via Men’s Fitness

Researchers at the University of Campinas in Brazil found that exercise can create chemical changes in the body that adjust “signals of satiety” and decrease food intake. In other words, it can prevent overeating.

10. Catch more Zzz’s.
via Medical News Today

The Annual 2013 Sleep in America Poll found that regular exercisers were more likely to report that they had a “good night’s sleep” and reported not having trouble falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night. Non-runners recorded the least amount of sleep.

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