The benefits of running 5k regularly
Running is one of the easiest and most accessible forms of exercise to get into.
It doesn’t require equipment or an expensive gym membership, and it is something you can do on your own.
All you need is a decent pair of running trainers, comfy clothes and time to go.
By shaping it around your timescale, you can go whenever.
Numerous studies have shown the physical and mental benefits of running. Just moving around outdoors for a few minutes has the potential to change your mood.
Although getting into running may seem intimidating at first, there’s options for you to run with other people.
Whether that’s with friends, local running groups or organised park runs. There are 5k runs up and down the country accessible for people of all abilities to get involved.
Improved cardiovascular fitness
As well as doing wonders for your mental health, running can improve your sleep pattern and cardiovascular fitness.
Many people find sleeping slightly easier after exercise and running can be a great way to clear your mind and get your body settled.
Even completing a few short runs a week can improve your cardiovascular health and steadily build up your fitness.
Studies have shown running can help to build strong bones, strengthen muscles and can contribute to maintaining a healthy weight.
5k can sound like an impossible distance to reach for new runners, but with slow training it can be achievable and soon easy.
New runners can train for the accessible distance by building up their fitness. It’s also a great opportunity to fundraise while you go.
Lower blood pressure
As well as your cardiovascular health, running can also go a long way in helping to reduce blood pressure.
The American College of Cardiology found that “vigorous-intensity aerobic activities”, such as running, can improve blood pressure.
It also found “convincing evidence” that running can help to prevent chronic diseases, like coronary heart diseases, stroke and diabetes.
Running even a few times a week can have a dramatic impact on your health, and it need not be something you do every day to start to feel the benefits.
The mental and physical benefits of running are far reaching.
From reducing anxiety to helping you sleep, there are lots of reasons to consider taking it up.
Although the benefits of exercise go beyond simply losing weight, running is also a great way to maintain a healthy weight when combined with a nutritious, calorie-controlled diet.
The Harvard Medical School found that a calorie-counting approach to losing weight isn’t always the best option for long-term results and healthy lifestyles.
When combining a healthy diet with regular exercise, you will feel the benefits in all aspects of your life and not just on the scales.
The study said: “To lose one pound by exercising, you need to burn approximately 3,500 calories.
“It can take days of moderate exercise to do this. A better strategy for weight loss involves a two-pronged approach: exercising and cutting calories.”
Although the idea of exercising in the morning, after work or when you’re particularly tired doesn’t always sound appealing, it can do wonders for your energy levels.
Despite feeling tired or sapped of energy, exercising can give you energy.
Motivation, a feeling of accomplishment and an overall feeling of positive energy can come from simply taking a walk, a slow jog or a run.
Many people find they can feel more focused on the rest of the day’s tasks after a run – be this going to work or plans in the evening.
It can popularly be referred to as a “runner’s high” – the feeling when your body releases hormones called endorphins.
According to a report from John Hopkins medicine, regular cardiovascular exercise can spark growth of new blood vessels to nourish the brain. Exercise may also produce new brain cells in certain locations through a process called neurogenesis, which may lead to an overall improvement in brain performance and prevent cognitive decline.
Exercising can be a fantastic way of switching off, reducing anxiety or releasing stress.
It’s a chance to be away from electronic devices and is a great time to switch off and concentrate on just moving your body.
One study from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health demonstrated the power exercise has to reduce stress and why it is so good for you.
Feelings of satisfaction, pride and generally releasing stress are found with runners.
Runners who take part in park-runs also found feelings of loneliness and anxiety were reduced after taking part in something with a group.
One study found a one hour run had the power to “significantly” reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. While another study found that a 12.5-mile long jog improved feelings of pleasantness, reduced anxiety, reduced stress and reduced sadness.
Everyone’s relationship with sleep is different.
While some people can find it easy to nod off, for others it can take longer and be a struggle.
Generally though, exercise can be a great tool in helping you get a better night’s sleep.
Exercise gives you the chance to switch off mentally and wear your body out.
The Sleep Foundation found “moderate-to-vigorous exercise can increase sleep quality for adults by reducing sleep onset – or the time it takes to fall asleep – and decrease the amount of time they lie awake in bed during the night.”
It explained that “moderate-to-vigorous physical activity can decrease the risk of excessive weight gain, which in turn makes that person less likely to experience symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.”