If you are a runner, you would already have seen the health benefits trickle down as you keep running. Your stamina is higher, your cardiovascular health will be at its peak and your energy levels will be high throughout the day. Naturally, this is most evident after many months of running. If you are on the fence about whether running can indeed be as helpful as exercising, trust us, there’s no better way to get started.
Some of us still need to be convinced about the greater benefits of running. It helps if you start thinking of running as a long-term exercise, something like a yearly gym membership. Run regularly, and you will start seeing all the fringe benefits that runners keep talking about. And when you continue exercising beyond this point, running can even help battle terminal diseases.
A recent study says fit men in their late 40s are less likely to get lung and colorectal cancer than men who don’t exercise. They have a better chance of surviving the disease too, if they are diagnosed at a later stage. University of Vermont researchers said even minor improvements in fitness can help reduce cancer risk in the long-term. So even a light workout routine can help you in the long run.
We came across another example of running helping in the battle against cancer. Yvonne Martinez is a 60-year-old from San Antonio, Texas, who has been running thrice a week for 12 years. She’s logged more than 700 miles in the past two years alone. She started slowly in 2004 after a surgery and weeks of radiation treatment by walking initially, and then running around the neighborhood. By 2010 she had run her first half marathon and since then she has competed in four more, and continues to be an inspiration for many others like her who’ve decided to get fit after being diagnosed with a life-threatening condition.
A WebMD article states that women who exercise after completing breast cancer treatment live longer and have less chance of a recurrence. Besides the increased level of fitness, greater muscle strength, leaner body mass, and less weight gain, exercise activity like running can also improve disposition of the patient, boost self-confidence, and reduce the fatigue factor.
If you are a recovering patient, start slowly, and don’t set any goals in the first few days. Run whatever time, distance or speed that you can manage and mix it up with walks to ease the exertion. The C25K program is an excellent starting point and you can even stretch the target time to a schedule that fits your physical condition.
If you are feeling uninspired to exercise, read some inspirational stories of how running has helped others, or simply, run with a friend. Running with a partner has been known to boost confidence levels of shy runners, or runners who are not used to the physical exertion. Having a support system will help improve your mood too, and will be invaluable in case of an emergency. Just remember that no one will be able to run for many miles from day one.
Take it slowly at first, but keep at it, and you will also see what many hundreds have noticed. Running can also be a weapon in the fight against disease as much as it is a simple joyful activity.