The Clinical Catch-Up: National Running Day

Now that the weather has turned nice, it’s impossible not to notice: running is incredibly popular. It’s a simple concept – anyone can do it almost anywhere. I myself have grown to truly enjoy running, and like most good things, I attribute this revelation to my wife. She was a runner, and as I started to run with her, I quickly became hooked. Admittedly, that doesn’t mean I’m overjoyed about each run, but it became easier and easier to go out and run for longer, increase my pace, and realize I was getting into better shape.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Running is often associated with an “exercise to lose weight”, more of a task to complete than something done for enjoyment. But it is undeniably true that running has positive effects on your health including a decrease in overall weight through improving an individual’s BMI. Running can also help decrease blood pressure and overall cardiovascular risks, improve cardiovascular health, and has even been shown to increase mortality benefits1.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO RUN A MARATHON

I get it; it can be difficult to take the first steps of a jog or a run. Luckily, studies have shown that in order to see health benefits, it doesn’t mean that you need to run for hours and hours at a time. Small increments are meaningful, and health benefits can be seen with less than 51 minutes of running per week1. Likely, over time you will notice an increase in how far you go, or how easy it is to start out on a run. Experts call this the “progressive transitional phase”, a time frame that includes brisk walking to help build up to running from being inactive.

TAKE A WALK

It’s understandable if you don’t enjoy running, so brisk walking is also an option. It’s still exercise, which is the main goal, and also has health benefits for your body over inactivity. Walking has a higher safety profile, is easily done, and lends itself to social networking and interaction during the activity2.

FREE YOUR MIND

Whichever you prefer, the simple truth is that walking and running both have health benefits that are greater than being inactive. On National Running Day, I will be joining many others across the country for a daily or weekly run that I’ve truly come to enjoy. I have discovered that running can be quite relaxing, and now I can let go of the necessary music I required when first starting out. If you decide to try it, set small goals for yourself and build up gradually. You may find it is something you really enjoy, and hopefully I will see you out there!

– Ryan Henderson MSN, APRN, ACNP-BC Director of Clinical Services

  1. Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk – D. Lee, R.R. Pate, C.J. Lavie, X. Sui, T.S. Church, S.N. Blair, J Am Coll Cardiol, 64 (2014), pp. 472–481
  2. Minimal Amount of Exercise to Prolong Life: To Walk, To Run, or Just Mix It Up? – C.P. Wen, J.P. Wai, M.K. Tsai, C.H. ChenJ Am Coll Cardiol, 64 (2014), pp. 482–484