By Anu Jain Rohatgi | Express News Service | Published: 13th May 2017 10:00 PM |
If you have a habit of running in the morning, you are keeping a lot of diseases at bay. This is a proven fact and many scientific studies have directly linked running to the overall wellbeing of the human body, including life expectancy.
There is no doubt that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Running can reduce risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Running also keeps our joints lubricated and fit. It is good for asthma patients and enhances the glow of the skin. It also make us happy and wards of depression.
A recent study has also linked running with longevity. Researchers looked at data from 1,000 patients and multiple studies on exercise and lifespan, and found that runners lived for three additional years than those who didn't run. The study says that for every hour spent running, seven hours were gained. In addition, researchers found that running—no matter how fast or how far, decreases a person’s risk of premature death by almost 40 per cent.
“Regular running minimises and combats the common risk factors for early death, including heart attack, high blood pressure, extra body fat and respiratory problems,” said Dr K K Aggarwal, senior cardiologist and IMA president.
Running widens the pathway of small arteries to maintain easy blood circulation. “If there is a blockage in the main arteries, then these small arteries work efficiently and keep the heart pumping,” Dr Aggarwal said, adding, running also protects the innermost lining of the arteries, keeping the walls and cells intact, and that cuts the risk of blockages or clots that cause heart attacks.
Experts say that when we start running, the heartbeat increases but drops down gradually during the run, making the heart stronger.
Running keeps our heart alert and increases cardiac output or the pumping capacity of heart. In the process, every part of the body gets sufficient oxygen, and the brain starts working faster. It also increases blood circulation.
“Regular running maintains oxygen saturation. Lungs extract more oxygen from the air and enhance the capacity. During aerobic exercises and running, oxygen requirements of the major muscle groups increases. This hikes the lung’s oxygen capacity and strengthens the muscles of the lungs. While running when you exhale, you release airborne toxins from your body,” said Dr M Wali Medical consultant to president and former Medicine consultant at RML Hospital.
Delhi asthmatics also benefit from running. Although asthma may be triggered by exercise for some people, others who have their condition in control can use running to improve overall lung health. Good blood circulation also provides more nutrients to our hair, strengthens hair roots and reduce hairfall, Dr Wali added.
Running improves metabolism and is best for weight loss. It also utilises more sugar, controls sugar level in blood and prevents diabetes. A good run improves secretion of insulin through pancreas, Dr Wali said. Dr Kausal Misra, Orthopaedic Surgeon at Primus Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi, said, “The more we strain our muscles, the more stronger it becomes. Running does it for us. When we run, the lining around the joints start secreting fluids that protects the joints. Running also improves blood circulation in joints which in turn improves quality of the cartilage.”
When we run, serotonin hormone starts secreting. Serotonin hormone regulates our mood and prevents depression and this keeps us happy. Our brain needs 20 per cent of the body’s oxygen. Oxygen gives clarity to the brain, improves concentration, and brings about a positive change on the energy level. Running in the morning increases serotonin levels in the body, added Dr Kausal.
Mud running tracks are considered the best. Before going for a run, select a good pair of shoes. Dr Kausal said many runners hardly put much thought into the shoe selection, but if the shoes are of poor quality, ankles, knees and even the back will ache.
It is also better to run on the track than treadmill. A treadmill run puts pressure and exercises only certain points of the knee, which can pose a problem later.
Lastly, don’t rush to reach targets. Baby steps go a long way. Wear a smile, reflect confidence and come out and take a leap to a healthy future.
Tips to Follow
Avoid running if there’s an injury on the knees, ankles or back
Start with small distances
Carry an inhaler if asthmatic. Heart patients should consult doctor for time and distance of the run
Run later in the day in winter if you are a heart patient
Warm, humid air is best for your airways
Benefits of Running
Lowers blood pressure, reduces strain on the heart
Increases good HDL cholesterol. Takes fat from the arteries to the liver for processing
May reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol that can form fatty deposits in the arteries and contribute to heart disease