Dust off your sneakers, soak in mental, physical benefits of running consistently this spring

With the weather finally starting to warm up again and spring break right around the corner, now is the time to dust off your Nikes and hit the ground running— literally.

Maybe your beach bod isn’t ready, maybe you are the type of person who finds jogging as a form of relaxation or maybe you are trying to be more health conscious. Nonetheless, running is beneficial for your health and is a great way to stay in shape. While it is probably one of the most hated forms of exercise, why is running good for you?

Mental benefits

How many college students can say they are not stressed at all during the semester? Midterms keep coming and stress levels keep climbing. Running is a great outlet that can improve your attitude and mindset. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise in general can improve how you sleep, your mood and lower depression and anxiety levels, which in turn reduces stress levels. Running also leads to an increase in the brain’s feel-good hormones, called endorphins. This is commonly known as the runner’s high.

Overall self-esteem is improved, especially when reaching goals through running, such as losing weight. The saying “look good, feel better” directly applies here. Running also sharpens your mind by increasing blood flow to the brain.

Physical benefits

Running is one of the best forms of exercise to lose weight, which is very beneficial for those who do not have a lot of time to exercise throughout the day. Running is also a great way to prevent chronic diseases and improve your cardiovascular health. In 2014, seven out of 10 deaths in the United States were due to chronic diseases, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Running also strengthens your bones and muscle mass, making you more lean and fit. The good type of cholesterol, HDL, is increased. One of the best benefits for students is that running increases the number of white blood cells in the body, which in return boosts the immune system, according to RunAddicts.

And the best part is...

If you’re in a pinch and only have 10 minutes, you still have plenty of time to go for a run. Running is a form of exercise that can be done anywhere and at any time. Luckily, in Madison, there are many places to go for a quick jog. If you enjoy the indoors, the makeshift gym in Ogg, the Shell or the Nat are all viable options. Better yet, if you enjoy a change of scenery, the Lakeshore Path and the Capital City State Trail both provide great views.

Running can be fun if you allow it to be. Madison hosts various 5K races and runs throughout the year. Grab your friends, make a running playlist and reap the benefits of a good run.

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