For a lot of people, working out seems like more of a chore than something to be enjoyed. But when you find an activity that you not only love doing but which also benefits your health, you’re onto a winner.
Initially, you might think of running as a challenging form of exercise. But this isn’t the case once you get into it. Yes, when you first start out, you’re going to push your body into perhaps doing things it isn’t used to. But with time, you’ll start craving the high that running gives and you’ll find yourself getting more and more involved.
If you’ve ever seen those running addicts on social media, you’ll know just what I’m talking about. But while running is a great way for you to set and achieve goals, it’s also fantastic for your body and in this article, I’m going to explain just what happens to your body when you run.
How Running Affects The Body
Running is a brilliant form of exercise and the more you do it, the more you’ll notice your body starting to change. And it’s all for the best! There are several ways that running changes your body so let’s take a look at what to expect.
Your Calf Muscles Will Develop
There’s a thing about runner’s calves that has everyone talking. It seems as though those perfectly shaped muscles can only be achieved through regular running and so many people are envious of them
If you’re looking to get your legs in shape and have beautifully toned calf muscles then running is definitely the way forward.
However, with this comes the sacrifice of certain fashion items. For example, you can forget fitting into those skinny jeans because your legs will almost certainly bulk up. But then, who cares about fashion over fitness? Certainly not me!
And Your Thighs Will Be Toned
I’ve spoken to a lot of people that are really self conscious about extra fat at the tops of the thighs. This can be notoriously difficult to shift but the good news is that running will make it easier.
Look at a runner’s legs and you’ll not only notice those toned calves but the thigh muscles are always lean and slender.
Your legs are doing a lot of work every time you go for a run so it’s no wonder that fat in this part of the body will just melt away.
Get A Beautiful Bum
I’ve long dreamed of having a perky bum but it wasn’t until I started including running as part of my regular exercise that I really started to notice it taking shape. That’s because it isn’t just your legs that are doing the hard work, your bum muscles are working themselves into a spin every time you run too.
There’s no need to spend hours grafting at the gym when running a few miles every day will give you the bum you’ve always dreamed of!
Banish Bingo Wings
Ugh, aren’t bingo wings just the most difficult things to get rid of when you’re trying to lose weight? While you might not think that running would target your arms, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that it’s actually a great way to get rid of arm fat and tone those arms, as long as you combine it with other workouts.
For a lot of runners, losing arm weight is great but if the arms aren’t used then the muscle will diminish as well. So, when you’ve finished your run, try something like weight training or yoga to keep your arms toned and looking great.
Improved Heart Health
While getting your body to look great is one of the biggest perks of running, it’s much more important to consider your internal health. And one of the best things about this type of activity is that running is amazing for your heart!
It has been proven time and again in various studies that running has a very favourable effect on the cardiovascular system. This means that people who run regularly are at a much lower risk of getting heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.
This means less chance of a stroke or heart attack as well as things like healthy blood vessels, lower blood pressure and a better resting heart rate. There’s no other muscle in your body that you’ll want to work out more than your heart and running is the perfect way to do this.
Does Running Make You Lose Weight?
One of the primary reasons that most people take up exercise is to help shift a few pounds. So this begs the question of whether running is a viable method of losing weight.
You could spend all day running but if you get home and fill your face with thousands of calories then, no, you’re not going to lose weight. The key to weight loss is finding the right balance between how many calories you put into your body and how many you burn.
Running, when accompanied by a sensible and healthy diet, is one of the best ways to lose weight. They say that walking is good exercise but when running, you’ll burn twice as many calories; around 100 for every mile.
What’s great about this is that you don’t need to worry about paying to go to the gym or any fad diets. All you’ll need to do is make sure you’ve got a decent set of runners on your feet and away you go!
But You May Have To Sacrifice Your Boobs
Lots of women want the ‘perfect’ figure which, if the media is to be believed, is a thin waist and full bust and perky bottom. But let’s get real, there aren’t many of us that are blessed with such a figure so don’t try and set unrealistic goals.
However, since running will make you lose weight from your chest before anything else, you need to be prepared to say goodbye to the girls; at least part of them. A lot of women find that, when they run a lot, their boobs are the first thing to shrink.
I mean, it really depends on whether you prefer to have a full chest or something more modest. Many people don’t like the fact that their chest shrinks whereas others welcome it with open arms. However you feel about this, it’s something to keep in mind.
Does Running Help You Sleep Better?
In this day and age, we all face so many stresses that it can be difficult to switch off at night. I know that, before I started running, I would lie awake at night, tossing and turning and even once I’d managed to get to sleep, I couldn’t stay asleep for the entire night. I know I’m not alone in this but running could help to improve your sleep and make you feel more rested.
There have been studies that show that physical workouts will increase how much time you spend in deep sleep stages and can combat insomnia. Of course, you need to make sure that your running sessions don’t coincide with bedtime as it's always best to avoid any strenuous activity right before going to sleep.
Is Running Good For Your Mental Health?
Another problem faced by a lot of us is mental health issues. With things like anxiety and depression on the rise, the NHS simply cannot keep up with the demand for GP appointments, medication and talking therapies. While these things are all valuable resources for mental health patients, your doctor will also advise you to take up a form of exercise as this has been proven to improve your mood.
Running is a great way to make yourself feel fantastic. This is because, when you run, your energy levels naturally rise. On top of this, the activity can boost your confidence and make you feel more satisfied within yourself.
Not only this but running can help to combat isolation and loneliness since there are a lot of clubs for passionate runners and beginners where you can meet new people with similar interests.
Feeling physically healthier is also good for your mental health and with a better night’s sleep, it goes without saying that you’ll generally feel happier.
If that wasn’t enough, there is what is known as the runner’s high. This isn’t some catchy phrase used on social media to get people to sign up to running clubs or apps; it’s a real thing and it makes you feel incredible.
The reason that this high happens is because, when you run, your body releases a hormone called endorphins. They’re often called the feel good hormone and it doesn’t take me to explain why this is. Where a lot of people turn to alcohol, drugs and other unhealthy things to feel better, the release of endorphins comes with zero associated dangers as it’s totally natural.
Running Will Make You Hungry
There isn’t a lot I can say about running that makes it sound bad but there is one thing that you should keep in mind before you get out on the trails. Running will make you ravenously hungry. When you’ve finished a run and burned off a load of energy, you’ll naturally want to refuel and it’s important that you listen to your body.
However, since a lot of people use running as a way to lose weight, it feels counterproductive to shove a massive meal into your face when you come home from a long run. So, you need to be very careful about what you choose to eat because you don’t want to undo all of that hard work.
Before you start on your weight loss journey, it’s really important to come up with a healthy eating plan that suits your lifestyle and will help you to reach your goals. When you come back from a run and are starving, make sure that you stay with that plan no matter how tempting it is to head to the nearest McDonalds.
Unhealthy food like that won’t do you any favours. In fact, it’s much better to choose things like whole grain carbs, beans, lentils and plenty of fruit and veg. Prepare a snack before you go for your run so you’re not racking your brains on what to eat when you return. With this comes the temptation to just grab anything that’s within reach.
Also keep in mind that running isn’t going to make you lose weight in just a couple of sessions. This is a process and if you’ve never done it before, you’ve first got to allow your body time to get into the swing of things. Set manageable goals and don’t try to starve yourself at the same time as starting an intense running schedule. All you’ll succeed in doing is putting yourself off.
As well as this, we have to remember that each of us will lose weight and tone up differently to the next person. There’s too much focus on what other people are achieving and not enough focus on what we achieve ourselves. Come off that runner’s Instagram page, stop listening to what other people have to say and focus on yourself! In the end, you will see results and running will change your body for the better.
Running is a brilliant form of exercise that doesn’t cost a penny. All you need to do is step outside your front door, put one foot in front of the other and you’re on your way to losing weight, having better sleep, toning up, and improving your heart and mental health.
It makes you wonder why, with all of these positive body changes, more people aren’t taking up running as a hobby. If you’ve considered getting into running, there’s no better time than the present. In just a few short weeks, you’ll start noticing how running is changing your body and how much better you feel because of it.