8 Amazingly Awesome Non-Fitness Benefits of Running
We know what you're thinking: “Not another running-is-good-for-you article.” But, before you cue the *eyeroll* emoji, hear us out. We’ve all heard the many benefits of what running can do for our health and physical fitness -- it keeps us slim, strengthens our bones, and helps us sleep better. A google search on why running is good for us returns over a billion hits. That’s why this isn’t just another “running is healthy” piece. Nope. We’ve uncovered the slightly hidden benefits of running, the ones we can’t measure on a scale or with a blood pressure cuff. And these benefits may just inspire you get you up off the couch and out into the streets.
1. It makes you happyThat runner’s high we’ve all heard about, it’s a real thing. When we run, endorphins are released that act like a natural drug to make us feel energized and on top of the world. Not only that, but scientists have also made a connection with running and falling levels of a hormone called leptin which allows dopamine (another happy chemical) to flow uninhibited. Good times straight ahead.
2. It gives you a confidence boostIt’s common knowledge that exercise can help prevent disease like obesity and diabetes, but now there are over several hundred studies delving into the role of exercise on mental health and wellbeing. Researchers are finding that physical activity can not only keep you fit, but can also help upgrade your life. Regular exercisers reported higher levels of self-esteem, improved moods, and resilience to stress. Fist bump.
3. It can give you a boost in the bedroomRunning, especially sprint intervals, has been shown to boost your testosterone, which helps you create muscle mass and keeps your sex drive running hot. But, runners beware, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. Running long distances (around 40 miles a week) has been linked to decreasing testosterone. Keep the mileage low, and we trust you’ll be able to find the sweet spot.
4. It puts you in the moodIf you want to get frisky, ditch the Netflix and couch time and hit the treadmill. Because running activates the sympathetic nervous system and increases blood flow to our genital region, exercise increases arousal. Just make sure you hit the shower before you hit the sheets.
5. It gives you the skills to rock the partyEvery party needs a musical genius. Longer runs give you a chance to check out new music and create the ultimate party playlist. Be the guy who’s rocking the best beats and you will always make the cut.
6. It keeps you youngIs that the fountain of youth or just your favorite old sneakers? Maybe it’s both. A University of Colorado study showed that running may actually help reverse the aging process and can keep you functioning like a well-oiled machine deep into your life.
7. It may help you land a higher paying gigHey, boss. Of course, the fitter you are, the better your body is able to physically cope with the stress of your high powered job. But, we bet you didn't know that CEOs who run marathons are also more likely to run companies with higher firm values. More marathons, more money, baby.
8. It helps you bond with buddiesOn a social level, running with a friend gives you a chance to connect in-person and support one another’s healthy goals. But then, what’s a friendship without a little healthy competition? A 2012 study found that when we exercise with people that are better than us we can increase our performance and motivation.
Parvati won Survivor by crushing souls, and now she's focused on making the world a better place one fitness article at a time. Find her on Twitter @parvatishallow.