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Running is a fantastic way of staying in shape. It helps look after your heart, strengthens muscles, and increases bone density. Here are 10 ways running is great for you:

1. Running is good for your heart

Running is a great way to keep your heart healthy. Even if you only do 5-10 minutes a day at a slow pace, you can drastically reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Every time you run, you decrease your resting heart rate, which means it doesn’t have to work as hard.

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2. Running makes you feel great

When you run, your brain releases endorphins – the feel good chemical. This feeling, known as “runner’s high”, can positively affect your mood and give you an optimistic outlook on life.

3. Running strengthens your bones and joints

Your bones help to provide strength and structure to your body, but as you age, they can become weaker. Running helps to keep your bones and joints strong by putting them under stress, which encourages them to grow more supportive tissue. Low impact exercises like walking or swimming don’t have the same bone-building benefit.

4. Running burns lots of calories

Running requires lots of energy. An average 68kg person will burn about 12 calories per minute, running a 10-minute mile. And that’s on flat terrain! Add a few inclines to your run and you’ll burn even more.

5. Running is a great leg workout

Your biggest muscles are in your legs and running is a great work out for all of them: your inner and outer thighs, your gluteus maximus (your bottom), quads, hamstrings and calves. Running will help to add shape and definition to your legs.

6. Running strengthens your core

Running works all of your core muscles: from your 6-pack to the deeper obliques, eretor spinae and transverse abdominis. These muscles hold your stomach in, support your spine and transfer energy between your swinging arms and legs.

7. Running is easy to fit into your day

You don’t need to find time to go the gym to go running. You can run anywhere and even spending just 10 minutes raising your heart rate will be good for you.

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8. Running can help relieve stress

The time you spend running can provide you with a break from the stresses and worries of the day. It can clear your head so you can think and problem solve.  If you’ve been focussing a lot on finding a solution to something, running can be a great way to reinvigorate you and give you new ideas.

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9. You can get started anytime

It’s easy to start running: just pull on your trainers and off you go. Of course, you must always warm up first to prevent injury, but then just walk, jog and run at a pace that suits you. The time you spend running is more important than the distance you cover.

10. Runners are a friendly community

Runners are great at supporting one another, no matter their ability. Even seasoned runners have had to start somewhere, so they know how hard it can be to get going. If you find it hard to run by yourself, or to motivate yourself to keep going, then joining a running club might be you the encouragement you need. Running clubs are a great way to take your training to the next level.

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