Everyone knows that running is one way of keeping us happy and healthy. But why is it good for us? It seems there are several benefits to be had:
- It increases blood and oxygen flow around the body
With training our cardiac output increases and we are able to work harder to improve performance. Also when resting our heartbeat rates drop as the body is working more efficiently.
- Muscles can absorb more oxygen from the bloodstream
Exercise stimulates the growth of capillaries (tiny blood vessels) in the muscles. These let water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients and waste products pass between the blood and muscles. Having more capillaries means the process is more efficient.
- The body produces energy more efficiently
With improved fitness the number of mitochondria (energy producing cells) in the muscles increases. Exercise also increases the number of red blood cells in the body, improving oxygen flow to the mitochondria and helping them produce energy more efficiently.
- The body starts to burn fat (the good bit!)
With regular exercise the body gets used to using fat instead of carbohydrate as an energy source. Therefore we'll have less fat on the body. Not only will we look and feel better, there will less fat around the heart which leads to improved heath and life expectancy.
Time to don those running shoes, then.
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