You’ve probably heard the saying, “Exercise is medicine.” And it’s the truth. Scientific research proves that regular exercise has health benefits, prevents some type of illness and longer your life. Here’s how:
1. Running makes you happier
If you’ve been working out regularly, you’ve already discovered it: No matter how good or bad you feel at any given moment, exercise will make you feel better.
2. Running helps you lose or maintain weight
You know that exercises burn calories while you’re working out. The bonus is that when you exercise, the burn continues after you stop.
3. Running strengthens your knees (and your other joints and bones, too)
It’s long been known that running increases bone mass, and even helps prevent age-related bone loss. But chances are, you’ve had family, friends, and strangers warn you that “running is bad for your knees.” Well, science has proven that it’s not. In fact, studies show that running improves knee health, according to Boston University researcher David Felson in an interview with National Public Radio.
4. Running will keep you sharper, even as you age
Worried about “losing it” as you get older? Working out regularly will help you stay “with it.” A 2012 study published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review concluded that the evidence is insurmountable that regular exercise helps defeat age-related mental decline, particularly functions like task switching, selective attention, and working memory.
5. Running reduces your risk of cancer
Maybe running doesn’t cure cancer, but there’s plenty of proof that it helps prevent it. A vast review of 170 epidemiological studies in the Journal of Nutrition showed that regular exercise is associated with a lower risk of certain cancers. What’s more, if you already have cancer, running (with your doctor’s approval) can improve your quality of life while you’re undergoing chemotherapy.
6. Running adds years to your life
Even if you meet just the minimum amount of physical activity—(30 minutes, 5 times per week), you’ll live longer. Studies show that when different types of people started exercising, they lived longer. Smokers added 4.1 years to their lives; nonsmokers gained 3 years. Even if you’re still smoking, you’ll get 2.6 more years. Cancer survivors extended their lives by 5.3 years. Those with heart disease gained 4.3 years.
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