Long-distance running is broadly defined as continuous running for around eight kilometers (which translates to roughly 5 miles). If you are thinking about taking up long-distance running as a form of exercise, then you should know about the various benefits of it. With that in mind, here are 5 benefits of long-distance running (besides the obvious ones like weight loss and better endurance).
You will feel better
One of the major benefits of hard exercise like long-distance running is that it can have a noticeable benefit on your mood and general outlook on life. Long-distance running can trigger your brain to produce endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that regulate your mood. The production of endorphins is what triggers the famous “runner’s high” that many of you have probably heard of before.
It can help with stress
Another great benefit of long-distance running is how it can reduce stress levels. When you are running, both your mind and body are focused entirely on that task. The brain has to regulate blood and oxygen flow, and it has to focus on keeping your body moving. This means that you aren’t focusing on other things that may stress you out. Your brain essentially has time to reset itself. It also helps that while you are running, you are likely to be focusing on your breathing, which studies have shown to be helpful with stress.
It builds muscle
Typically, we think of running as being solely a cardio exercise, but long-distance running can build significant amounts of muscle. The muscles in various parts of your body actually receive quite the workout while you are running. Obviously, the majority of the muscle gains are going to be in your legs and calves, but other muscle groups do benefit as well.
You will be more energetic
Your body is capable of producing more or less energy to meet your daily needs. A lot of people who constantly complain about having no energy tend not to exercise often. That isn’t a coincidence. When you don’t use a lot of energy, your body produces less of it. Long-distance running uses a lot of energy; so naturally, your body produces more of it. This leads to you being more energized throughout the day.
Running can help you control cravings
If you are trying to lose weight or kick a habit like smoking, then long-distance running is a great form of exercise to take up. Studies have consistently shown that long-distance running and other vigorous exercises help people deal with cravings. The reason for this is that the running and the endorphins that your brain releases when you run, act as a sort of distraction that keeps your mind occupied on things besides your cravings.