A blog by runners. For runners.

How your heart benefits from running

The benefits of running on your heartRunning is much more than just a sport or activity for us here at WalkJogRun – it’s a lifestyle that we cannot live without.

In other words, running makes our hearts feel full.

But that’s not all running does for the heart. Despite what some recent research says, running is good for us and improves our heart’s health. In fact, people who don’t exercise are almost twice as likely to get heart disease compared to people who are physically fit. This is great news for runners because heart disease is the number one killer in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Running reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels.        
High blood pressure and cholesterol levels are risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Studies show working out just 30 minutes per day is linked with lower blood pressure, reduced LDL or “bad” cholesterol, and improved HDL or “good” cholesterol levels.

Running cuts your risk for a heart attack.
A study in the American Journal of Cardiology in 2014 found runners had a 45 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease when compared to people who didn’t run.

Running adds years to your life.
That same study found runners lived three years longer, on average, than people who didn’t run. More about that study.

Running lowers your resting heart rate.
Our ticker has a set number of beats. Once we reach the maximum number, our heart stops working. When we run, our heart rate beats faster because the activity is strengthening our heart. With regular exercise, our resting heart rate gets lower – which can extend our heart’s life. Experts say athletic training can lower resting heart beat by up to 10 to 20 beats per minutes.

Running helps you shed belly fat.
Running helps you reach – and maintain – a healthy weight, and losing abdominal fat can significantly cut your chance for heart problems. Obesity is linked with heart disease, but even normal-weight people have a higher risk of heart disease if they carry extra weight around their midsection – called “central obesity”. In fact, if you have central obesity your risk of dying from heart disease is three times greater than if you had a healthy waist-to-hip ratio.

Running makes your spouse’s heart healthier, too.
A 2014 study published in the British Medical Journal looked at marathoners’ risk for coronary artery disease (a type of heart disease causes arteries to harden and fatty substances to build up) and their spouse’s risk (the spouses weren’t runners). The researchers found no significant difference in the degree of atherosclerosis between the two groups. However, both the runners and their spouses had about half the atherosclerosis of people their age, meaning that even just being married to a runner may lower your risk of heart disease.

Written by Jen Matz.