We are all well-versed in the benefits of exercising – even if most of us don’t workout nearly enough. There are endless studies highlighting why exercise is so good for us. Earlier this year, researchers at Columbia University discovered that a hormone (irisin) which is produced during exercise could help protect the neurons in our brain from Alzheimer’s, while scientists at the Queen Mary University of London found that working out can help prevent the breakdown of cartilage caused by osteoarthritis.
This week, a study honed in on the importance of running. Researchers reviewed data from 14 studies and concluded that any amount of running can help lower your risk of death by 27%. Yes, whether you run once a day, once a week or just a couple of times a week, you will help improve your health. The researchers also highlighted that neither your speed nor your distance mattered either. Although they did conclude: ‘Increased rates of participation in running, regardless of its dose, would probably lead to substantial improvements in population health and longevity.’
This isn’t the first time running has been specifically highlighted by the science community. Last year, Brigham Young University found that running can help improve our brain health. “Exercise is a simple and cost-effective way to eliminate the negative impacts on memory of chronic stress,” the study lead, Jeff Edwards said at the time.
Fitness expert and celebrity trainer, Dalton Wong is an advocate of running: “Running is an excellent and low cost cardiovascular exercise that can be done anywhere. It can be suitable for all fitness levels,” says Wong. “Running outside is also an excellent way to connect with nature. Fresh air and vitamin D is always beneficial to the body.”
So, how can we improve our running game?
Invest in your trainers: To fully support your feet and avoid injury, it is worth investing in a decent pair of running shoes.
Check your gait: Plenty of sport shops offer gait analysis, which will correct any form issues and also help prevent injury. Several places offer video analysis, so you can see on the screen where you’re going wrong.
Download a running app: If finding the motivation is where you seem to fall short and you don’t have the budget for a personal trainer, download an app. Nike’s Running Club app tracks your runs, offers in-app coaching, celebrates your achievements and allows your friends to tap in and offer encouragement.
Embrace podcasts: Try listening to a podcast rather than music. Start with a 30 minute one (Joan and Jericha season 2 is equally as funny as the first if you enjoy satire) and build up to an hour long one (Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster or Adam Buxton’s interviews will keep you amused).
Don’t forget your R&R: There’s nothing worse than enjoying a long, steady run only to wake up feeling sore and stiff two days later. Soaking in a bath of magnesium flakes or massaging Better You’s Magnesium Oil Original Spray into limbs post-run can help ease delayed onset muscle soreness.