Jogging or running is a popular form of physical activity. About one in five Australians try running (or jogging) at some stage in their life. Running is an appealing exercise because it doesn't cost a lot to take part and you can run at any time that suits you.
Some runners choose to participate in fun runs, athletics races or marathons. If you are interested in competing with other runners, contact your local running club.
1. It can get you off that exercise plateau
The American Heart Association calls walking the most popular form of exercise in the nation. People walk their dogs, take a stroll on the beach, climb the stairs at work — we love to walk.
But what if walking isn’t getting your heart rate up high enough for long enough? What if you’ve plateaued? Jogging is a great way to increase the intensity of your workout gradually, so you can minimize the risk of an injury that could sideline you for weeks.
2. It can help you drop weight
Walking, power-walking, jogging, and running — they all improve cardiovascular health and help prevent obesity. But one found that if you want to boost your weight loss, you’ll have more success if you pick up your pace.
The study doesn’t distinguish between jogging and running. Instead, it focused on increased weight loss that occurred when participants ran instead of walked.
3. It can strengthen your immune system
For the better part of a century, exercise scientists thought vigorous exercise could potentially leave you weakened and at risk for infection and disease. A closer look at the indicates the opposite is true.
Moderate exercise, like jogging, actually strengthens your body’s response to illness. That holds true for both short-term illnesses, like upper respiratory tract infections, and long-term illnesses, like diabetes.
4. It has a positive effect on insulin resistance
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Trusted Source, more than 84 million Americans have prediabetes, a condition that can be reversed.
Insulin resistance is one of the markers of prediabetes. The cells in your body simply aren’t responding to insulin, the hormone that keeps blood sugar levels in check.
The good news: A review Trusted Source of the research found that regularly running or jogging decreased insulin resistance in study participants. Researchers noted that a decrease in body fat and inflammation might be behind the improvement in insulin resistance.
5. It can help protect you from the negative effects of stress
Whether you’re a jogger, Hatha yoga enthusiast, or soccer beast, you’re bound to encounter stress. Jogging may protect the brain from the harmful effects of stress.
A 2013 of studies found that aerobic exercise, like jogging, could potentially improve executive functioning and protect the brain from decline related to aging and stress.
A recent animal from Brigham Young University found that among mice exposed to stressful situations, those who were regularly allowed to run on a wheel performed better, making the fewest errors following a maze and demonstrating the highest ability to remember and navigate skillfully.
Stress relief is another valuable benefit of running or jogging. Going for a jog might improve your mood in the short-term by helping get your mind off your troubles, but it can also lead to longer-lasting stress relief benefits.
6. It can help you cope with depression
Exercise has long been known to help people manage the symptoms of depression, but new science may help explain how.
Elevated cortisol levels have been linked to depressive episodes. Cortisol is a hormone your body releases in response to stress.
A 2018 study examined cortisol levels in people seeking treatment for depression. After 12 weeks of consistent exercise, those who exercised regularly throughout the study had reduced levels of cortisol throughout their entire day.
Doctors at Mayo Clinic advise people who have symptoms of anxiety or depression to take up a physical activity they enjoy. Jogging is just one example.
7. It keeps your spine flexible as you age
In between the bony vertebrae in your back, small, flexible discs act like protective pads. The discs are actually sacs filled with fluid. They can shrink and wear out as you get older, especially if you live a relatively sedentary life.
Sitting for long periods can really add to the pressure on these discs over time.
The good news is that jogging or running preserves the size and flexibility of these discs.
One of 79 people found that regular joggers who ran at a pace of 2 meters per second (m/s) had better disc hydration and higher levels of glycosaminoglycan (a kind of lubricant) in their discs.
The healthier and more hydrated those discs are, the more flexible you’ll feel as you move through your day.
8. Good for your brain
Jogging can help in the creation of new brain cells thereby resulting in overall brain development and performance. An everyday 30-minute run or jog is said to increase body protein generated by your brain that helps in better decision making and sharpness. How does this happen? Well, this physical activity sends nourished blood to the brains that help in better thinking and balance mood keeping stress at bay.
9. Good for your skin
Jogging increases blood flow and nourishes your skin cells. Your blood carries oxygen and nutrients that are absorbed by your cells and this helps you have vibrant skin. It also flushes out the bad toxins and waste products from your body. Your body produces stress hormones called cortisol that can make your skin look older. Jogging improves blood circulation thus fighting cortisol.
10. Boosts Self-Esteem
Running builds confidence like few other individual sports can. It allows the runner to defeat trial after trial, growing stronger and surer of themselves with each footstrike. It allows you to truly climb hills and clear obstacles. It provides a feeling of empowerment and freedom that comes with knowing that your legs and body are strong and capable.
Researchers have found that participating in physical activity such as running and jogging are directly related to better self-esteem. Regular exercise led to improved perceptions of fitness and improved body image, both of which were linked to improved self-esteem.
11. Improves Mood
In addition to relieving daily stress, running and jogging can have positive influences on your attitude. The endorphin rush you feel during a run can lead to that burst of well-being or just a general sense of happiness.
There is some evidence that engaging in exercise such as running may help alleviate symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders. One 2013 study found that exercise was moderately more effective than no therapy for reducing depressive symptoms. However, the study found that exercise was no more effective than antidepressants.
Less tension, less depression, less fatigue, and less confusion are just a few of the changes that patients have seen after beginning a regular running program. Running gives something for them to focus on, allowing them to see something besides their depressed state or addiction.
12. It could save your life
A sedentary lifestyle, whether you’re playing video games or working at your desk, may increase your risk of premature death. What’s less well-known is that jogging at a slow pace just a few times a week might keep you alive much longer.
In the Copenhagen City Heart Study, researchers followed a group of joggers from 2001 to 2013. The group that had the best record of life longevity was the group that ran at a “light” pace for 1 to 2.4 hours, 2 to 3 days a week.
The study received some criticism, in part because “light” wasn’t defined, and what’s considered “light” for an athlete could be quite challenging for someone else. The findings also contradict other research that suggests strenuous exercise may be better for you.
Nevertheless, the study confirms what we already know about getting on the treadmill or hitting the trail: You don’t need to sprint like Caster Semenya or run marathons like Yuki Kawauchi to experience the benefits of aerobic exercise.
The American Heart Association recommends that you take good care of your feet before, during, and after jogging. Wear shoes made for running, talk to a pro about inserts or orthotics, and check for any blisters or swelling after you jog.