There’s no doubt that running has been around since the dawn of mankind. But how good is running for you really? Research estimates it started anywhere from 2.6–4.5 million years ago and played a key role in the evolution of humanity.
But running was originally a survival mechanism. Now that we can get our food from the local supermarket and no longer have to outrun predatory animals, running has taken on a new purpose. So let’s reevaluate the reasons we run today!
And when I say “popular”, I mean super popular. According to studies in 2012 and 2013, over 54 million people ran or jogged at least one day in the year, and that number is increasing. It’s an impressive statistic, but who can complain about that many people taking care of their health, burning fat, and achieving their goals?
Just to be clear, if you currently enjoy running, I have zero problems with that! I’d be a fool to tell someone to stop exercising, especially if they really benefit from it. Fitness is fitness no matter how you look at it, so keep on doing what you love!
But for those who aren’t so fond of running and curious how good running is for you, who want to look their best but don’t know how to start, or who are seasoned runners tired of dealing with injuries every year, there are other techniques and methods to achieve your goals, including running faster or improving your running economy.
We all have our reasons for running. Some want to look better, while others want to set a new half-marathon time. With the rising popularity of this exercise, I don’t doubt you’ve already run a 5K, adventure race, or a weekly jog. Maybe it’s all you do for fun and good health.
Overall, I feel that most of us run because we think it’s the best way to get in shape and stay healthy. We’ve all seen celebrities out running and heard them tell us how beneficial it is. But how good is running for you and is it really the best way to stay fit?
Research has proven that running does “reduce all risks of death and cardiovascular disease”, but most studies that brag about its benefits are not exclusive to this type of exercise.
Many publications want you to believe the injury rate for runners isn’t that high, but there are multiple studies that prove otherwise: an estimated 37–56% of runners are injured each year, with 50–70% suffering overuse injuries, 20–70% suffering reoccurring injuries, and 30–90% requiring reduction or cessation of exercise to recover.
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It all depends on your goals. If you enjoy it, keep going! But if you’re just trying to look better or want to reduce your risk of injury, it may be better to look into these other options:
And for those of you who quit running a long time ago, I salute you!
Are you passionate about running? Good for you! Tired of running without getting the results you want? Try something new! Share your thoughts and questions about how good running is for you in the comments below! And I know you know at least one person who runs, so be sure to share this article with them!