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The Benefits of Running

For anyone feeling stressed, sad, or just plain antsy, exercise is the best medicine, particularly running. While it can sometimes require lots of endurance, it will leave you feeling happier and healthier. As college students, it is important for us to stay active and be healthy, especially when we have homework, exams, club meetings, internships, and everything else on our plates.

A lot of times, it can be hard for a busy college student to incorporate exercise into their routine. However, running is a great way to clear your mind and forget about everything on your plate for the time being. Fitness Magazine lists the top 10 benefits of running and here’s a few. Getting your heart pumping is one of the major benefits of running along with any other type of excerise.  The magazine says that running is the “king of cardio”, meaning it is good for your heart and significantly reduces the chance of falling victim to cardiovascular disease.

Secondly, a common belief about running is that it really wears on your joints. However, running actually strengthens your joints, contrary to what a lot of people believe. According to an exercise psychologist quoted in Fitness Magazine, whenever your feet slam down on the pavement while running, your bones and cartilage are stressed, which actually makes them stronger. This is different than something like yoga, for example. Yoga focuses more on stretching and the body whereas running benefits your body in ways that low-impact exercises never could.

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One of the top benefits of running is that it burns serious calories. Those who weigh approximately 150 pounds will burn 12.2 calories every minute they run. So if you run for a half hour, that’s 366 calories right there! A one-hour workout is just four percent of your day. You can’t go wrong cutting that in half because when you run, you still burn so many calories!

Another benefit of running is its ability to be an outlet to release stress. If you have a lot on your mind and just can’t seem to settle your thoughts, running is a great way to clear your head. Just the repetitive nature of running can be very therapeutic for people. For the  20 minutes, or however long you are going, all you have to focus on is your breathing and trying not to trip. When you get back, your head will be clear and much more relaxed.

Running is also good for taking a study break. Being cramped over your desk for hours upon hours doing homework can really take a toll on your physical and mental health. Next time, take a break and lace up your sneakers! It’s a nice break that will leave you feeling energized and loose.

Freshman social work student Kayla Greiss really enjoys running whether it is on a treadmill, at the gym, or outdoors. “Personally I really like running. My favorite way to stay in shape is going for a run at a park or on a track. I even like to walk if I get the chance. Working out outside is so relaxing. When it’s nice out it is so nice to breathe in the fresh air while staying in shape,” she said.

Similarly, senior communication student Kait Sisombath would choose the outdoors over a gym any day. “I always loved being outdoors, but my first mountain hike was this year and I fell in love! I feel at home and peaceful when I am outdoors hiking versus being locked up in a gym,” she said. Running outside is a great way to get some sun, breathe in some fresh air, and get a good workout in!

 Specialist professor Mary Harris also enjoys hiking, as well as kayaking. She prefers outdoor activities as opposed to working out in a gym. For some, working out in the winter can prove to be a struggle. Who wants to leave the warmth and coziness of their home to venture out into the cold to hit the gym? Harris gives the following advice for winter workouts. “The winter months can pose challenges, but with proper cold weather gear and embracing the snow, winter can be another fun way to connect with the elements and stay active by way of crisp morning jogs, snowshoeing, and skiing,” she said.

Most students go about their busy week running from class to class, so be sure to incorporate some running into your fitness routine!

With fall break ahead of us, go for a jog or take a hike as you take in all the wonderful fall foliage while getting in a great workout.

PHOTOS TAKEN by Campbell Lee