Running benefits: the mind, body and the libido. Do you really need more incentives to lace-up?

We may not be able to talk you into running, but you can’t fight the facts. Here’s a look at the many health benefits of running. And all these claims are backed by scientific research.

  • Live it up: Research conducted by the Iowa State University has found that running as little as 5 – 10 minutes a day, few times a week, can prolong your life expectancy by as much as 3 years.
  • Lose flab: If you want to shed those extra kilos, choose running over walking. In a 2012 study, Paul Williams of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that runners lost more weight than men and women who clocked in the same mileage while walking.
  • Build stronger bones: Research conducted by University of Missouri found that high-impact activities like running can increase bone mineral density, making them stronger and less prone to fractures.
  • Take heart: Running improves your aerobic fitness by increasing the activity of enzymes which in turn stimulates the heart to work more efficiently. It also lowers artery-clogging cholesterol and reduces blood pressure. According to research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, running could reduce your risk of dying from a heart attack by as much as 45 per cent.
  • Fight diabetes: Research conducted by the Life Sciences Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory proves that moderate walking or vigorous running reduced the risk of diabetes. It is widely known that inactivity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Running makes your muscles work harder and improves their ability to use insulin and absorb glucose.
  • Stave off cancer: According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated half of all cancer deaths are avoidable by practicing healthy lifestyle habits. Exercise is at the top of the list when it comes to a better lifestyle. Can’t decide on a sport?  Running is absolutely free. All you need is a good pair of running shoes.
  • Stop the clock: Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that elderly runners have fewer disabilities and therefore lead a more active life than aging non-runners.
  • Get sexy back: A Cambridge University study found that marathon runners had stronger sex drives and a higher sperm-count.
  • De-stress: When you run, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, which act as mood elevators, analgesics (pain relievers) and sedatives. Recent research in neuroscience found that this cerebral activity accounts for what we refer to as ‘runner’s high’.
  • Be a braniac: Neuroscientists at Cambridge University have found that running stimulates the brain to grow new grey matter. A few days of running can lead to the growth of hundreds of thousands of brain cells. A number of other studies have confirmed that running improves mental ability even as we age.