Check out these top reasons to feel damn good about running—and maybe use some of them to convince your non-runner friends to join you in the best sport ever.
Running can help you live longer.1 of 12
In mid-2017, the running world all but stopped and kissed the ground beneath their feet when a new study was released showing runners live about three years long than their sedentary peers. Better yet, this finding still applied to slower runners, non-regular runners and even runners with certain risk factors like smoking, drinking or being overweight.
Running makes you happier.2 of 12
There are so many studies to back this claim up that it's pretty overwhelming, but we'll start with this one, which shows that committing to a morning weekday running routine significantly improved participants' psychological well-being and even their ability to sleep—all in just three weeks. Though the power of exercise to improve your mood has long been established, research is beginning to show it takes even less time than we thought to feel substantially better.
Running does not discriminate.3 of 12
Let's face it: Some sports are extremely expensive and inadvertently exclude people who can't afford to participate. Not among those sports? Good ol' running. Grab a pair of sneaks, some comfy clothes and you're in business! You can feel good about the fact that anyone can run—no room for elitism here.
Running improves heart health.4 of 12
Heart disease is still the number one killer of Americans, but luckily, running can help. One famous 15-year study showed that running even five to 10 minutes a day at slow speeds was associated with markedly reduced risks of death from all causes, including cardiovascular disease. Persistent runners saw the most benefit and had 29-percent and 50-percent lower risks of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, respectively, compared with non-runners.
Running protects your joint.5 of 12
Contrary to popular belief, running can reduce your risk for osteoarthritis and hip replacement. Stress on bone and cartilage can actually help both grow stronger, similar to how our muscles break down and build themselves back up. It's also theorized that because runners tend to have lower BMIs, they put less pressure on their joints. Speaking of which...
Running can help you maintain a healthy weight.6 of 12
Regular cardiovascular activity is a great way to stay at a healthy, sustainable weight, and because running is especially high-intensity, it can help you burn serious calories compared to low-intensity activities. As shown in one study, runners lost significantly more weight over a six-year period compared to walkers.
Running can be a solo or team sport.7 of 12
No team? No problem! With running, you don't need anyone else by your side, which is not the case with many sports. All you have to do is get out there, and you can have a fulfilling and physically effective experience. Though this versatility of running may not seem like a big deal to already-established runners, it can encourage newbies to join in.
Running can help with back pain.8 of 12
It feels like everyone in the world suffers from some type of back pain, but logging some time on your nearby trail or track could help. Studieshave shown runners tend to have healthier spines than non-runners, specifically in their intervertebral disc composition. Intervertebral discs are what hold your vertebrae together, so let's go ahead and say they're pretty crucial.
Running improves vision.9 of 12
And we don't mean that metaphorically. Runners have a significantly reduced risk of cataracts, which clouds the normally clear lens of your eye and, when left untreated, can even lead to blindness.
Running can help reduce risk of cancer.10 of 12
You may not be able to control your genes, but you can control your lifestyle risk factors: not smoking, not drinking to excess, eating a wholesome diet—and, of course, engaging in regular exercise. Regular exercise has been associated with lower risks of cancer, thanks to reducing inflammation and even lowering levels of hormones in the body. And though any exercise can technically qualify—c'mon, why waste your time on anything that's not running?
Running is home to the best people in the world.11 of 12
We don't need a study to back this one up. Runners are simply the best. Join a running group, a running community on Facebook or simply hit up the next race in your city and you'll see what we mean. Runners tend to be supportive and positive people who are always willing to cheer on their fellow runners straight to the finish line!