The True Benefits of Running to Stay in Shape

Please understand that it’s very easy to think that you already know the benefits of running if you’re trying to stay in shape. A lot of people are under the impression that running burns enough calories so people can maintain their ideal weight.

Well, what if I told you that a lot of this is really a myth? This is just long held mythology regarding the health benefits of running. Because when you look at the amount of damage you inflict on your body when you run compared to the calorie burn that you get to enjoy, there are actually better alternative exercise options out there.

For example, you can try swimming. Swimming is an overall complete body workout. Whether we’re talking about your arms, your torso, your lungs, your legs, your lower legs, even your whole back, swimming definitely packs quite a bit of a calorie burning punch.

Unfortunately, not every American household has access to a swimming pool. This is why a lot of people don’t even think about swimming as some sort of alternative to running. But believe me or not, swimming is a better alternative.

You can also try biking. The truth is if you really want to get honest about the true benefits of running to stay in shape, there’s really not that much benefits when you account for what you’re giving up.

Running is murder on your joints

You probably have heard that when you run, whether it’s a nice little jog or an intense run involving several miles, you are putting a lot of pressure on your joints. If you are in your 20’s to early 40’s, you probably can get away with this.

You probably have enough collagen in your joints as well as proper internal lubrication for you to feel really good when you’re running. In fact, you’re probably not going to feel much of anything. You run around the block or you run 10 miles and when you come back, you’re breathing heavily, you’re sweating and you can feel the calories just leaving your system.

Everything is well and good. But once you hit your 40’s, that’s when all those years of running will start to show. You have to understand that when you put your whole body weight on your knees, it’s going to have an effect. It’s going to happen sooner rather than later.

And when you hit your 40’s and, for whatever reason, you don’t have a healthy lifestyle, boy are you going to feel it. This is why it’s a good idea to look at the real benefits of running in this context because you are paying a high price.

You’re paying now, but the damage will take place later on. Sure, you may get some benefits now, but it’s really an open question of whether they outweigh the kind of risks that you go through and the cost that you have to pay.

The main benefit of running is not what you think it is

So, what is the main benefit of running? Well, the truest benefit of running is really discipline. The ability to get up at 4am right before the sun appears and just hitting that trail or just running around the block again and again is quite commendable.

Please understand that if you’re able to do that, you will be able to do a lot of other things with your life. This applies across the board. You can be a better student. You can become a more diligent employee. You can pay more attention to people in your relationships.

It really all boils down to discipline. Also, please understand that in the course of a day, there are going to be situations that are not going to rub you the right way. These are going to be situations where your patience is going to run out.

Maybe you come across people that really rub you the wrong way or basically say the wrong things at the wrong time. Whatever the case may be, they always throw you off. When you have developed some level of mastery and discipline in a specific area of your life, some of that may carry over.

You may be able to use some of the discipline you employed to get up and go running every morning to hold your tongue when you come across a particularly toxic person. If you come across a person that normally makes you want to punch that person or say something nasty, you can use that self discipline and self control to hold your tongue and just relax.

That ability is worth its weight in gold because it really enhances your relationships. Have you ever noticed that people who are in really awesome mutually fulfilling relationships tend to be disciplined people? At some level or other, they have self control.

They’re able to say the right things at the right times with the right people. You have to understand that sometimes, when it comes to relationships, saying the wrong thing even just once is enough to kill that relationship.

It’ll never be the same again. You were like 2 peas in a pod or you were like booze and buddies and you basically would be ready, willing and eager to die for each other. Now, you’re basically just casual acquaintances.

It’s really too bad and all it took to unravel all of that is just one word. So do yourself a big favor and look into the real benefit of running. If you’re going to get into running at all, please wrap your mind around the fact that it can help you build this amazing ability of self discipline.

Pacing

Another great benefit of running is that it forces you to pace yourself. You’re not really running or jogging if you run a few miles and then you stop and walked the rest of the way. You’re not running. You can’t call that early morning exercise that you just went through running. You’re not fooling anybody. You’re definitely not going to be fooling yourself.

You know what you just did. That’s not running. Running means going all the way. It doesn’t matter what speed as long as you ran all the way. If you say to your friends and family members that you went jogging, then that means you jogged all the way.

I make this point because runners who are really big into that particular sports activity are able to run all the way through not because they’re better physically endowed than you or they are just genetically predisposed to running all the way through. It’s not like they have a tremendous amount of stamina.

Instead, they just have the right strategy. That’s right. They employ the right strategy and this strategy is called pacing. You have to pace yourself. You can’t just start off like a spark and go really fast at first and then you hit a wall and then you just stop and then you walk. That’s not running.

A real runner knows how to pace themselves. So they normally start out really slow. And then they scale it up a bit and then they maintain a certain range.

It may not seem like much, but when they do this, they not only build up their discipline so they’re able to maintain that same speed more consistently on their next run, but they’re also able to position themselves for greater speeds later on.

That’s how pacing works. It’s a great thing because it builds up your stamina based on your own terms and at your own pace. Compare this with people who feel that they have something to prove. So they just blast out of the gate really fast and they feel really good. And all of a sudden, the tag just becomes empty and they hit a wall.

So they stop and they start walking. It would be nice if they just simply slowed down. But they didn’t do that. Instead, they just hit a wall and they stopped and then they start walking. So you think you’re burning a lot of calories. But a lot of that really is basically averaged out because for a large chunk of your run, you’re basically not burning all that much calories.

You’re not breathing all that much and your lungs are not working that hard.