Running. The best medicine.
I am often questioned why I wake up so early to run or how I find time to run so much. It’s not easy, but once you get started and feel the benefits it has to offer, it’s difficult to stop. Waking up at at 5:20 AM was not something I would have ever imagined I would be doing. Years ago, and before kids, most of my runs were in the evening or as late as 10 o’clock at night. When kids entered our life, it became a challenge to keep this schedule. Making the change to AM runs was the only option. It took some getting used to (psychologists say it takes 40 days of doing something for it to become habit), but morning runs are an outstanding way to start the day.
This past week I unexpectedly lost my father. Without a doubt this was one of the hardest things to go through and anyone who has can certainly understand. For me, there was no better way to cope or no better medicine then to run. It has become such a part of my life that stopping would be harder then it was to start. The calming effect it has and health benefits are priceless. Endorphins (“endogenous morphine”) are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters and are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in during exercise. They resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being. The term implies a pharmacological activity analogous to the activity of the corticosteroid category of biochemicals. The word endorphin means a morphine-like substance originating from within the body.
Running has been proven to:
– boost your immune system
– increase the levels of good cholesterol
– increase ling function
– decrease risk of blood clots
– reduce risk of breast cancer in women
– decrease risk of a heart attack
– help to maintain constant weight
– boost confidence
– reduce stress
– eliminate depression
– reduce the risk of stroke
– lower blood pressure
– treats diabetes
– reduce risk of osteoporosis
What many people fail to understand is that running does not have to be hard. Just increasing your heart rate to what is considered an aerobic rate will provide these benefits. Aerobic zones of training can be sustained my many for hours. As an example, this would be a pace where you could carry a full conversation without stopping for a breath. If you can’t breath, your running too hard.
Running is the best form of medicine. Period.