Did you see the pictures from this past weekend’s Akron Marathon, or did you cheer on a friend or family member who was running? If it inspired you to dust off your own sneakers and hit the road, you’re not alone. Here are six reasons why you should start running!


Running makes you happier.


No matter how you feel at any given moment, running will make you feel better. This feeling goes beyond the "runner's high"—that rush of feel-good hormones known as endocannabinoids. In a 2006 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers found that even a single bout of exercise—30 minutes on a treadmill—could instantly lift the mood of someone suffering from a major depressive order. Moderate exercise may help people cope with anxiety and stress even after they're done working out.


Running helps you lose weight.


Exercise burns calories while you're working out. The bonus is that when you exercise, the burn continues after you stop. Studies have shown that regular exercise boosts "after burn"—that is, the number of calories you burn after exercise. This happens when you're exercising at an intensity that's a little faster than your easy pace, and a little slower than marathon pace.


Running helps you sleep better.


Going on a daily run can be an aid for getting a good night's sleep. A 2012 study found those who run regularly in the mornings showed an improvement in objective sleep. Subjective sleep quality, mood and concentration during the day improved, and sleepiness during the day decreased.


Running strengthens your joints and bones.


You may have heard running is bad for your knees, but science has proven that it's not. Studies show that running improves knee health, according to Boston University researcher David Felson in an interview with National Public Radio. Running also increases bone mass and helps stem age-related bone loss.


Running helps maintain and improve brain power.


Running regularly will help you stay sharp. A December 2012 study published in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review concluded there is strong evidence regular exercise helps defeat age-related mental decline. Studies consistently found that fitter older adults scored better in mental tests than their unfit peers. What's more, in stroke patients, regular exercise improves memory, language, thinking and judgment problems by almost 50 percent.


Running reduces common health risks.



Running can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Men and women at all blood pressure levels can benefit from running just five minutes a day, says the American Heart Association.


People who run regularly are at a 45 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, according to a 2014 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Weekly running, even five to ten minutes a day and at slow speeds less than six miles per hour, will reduce the risk compared with not running.


Read more about starting a safe running program.


If you’re dealing with some lingering aches and pains in your joints or other extremities that are keeping you from getting back into running, come see us at the Summa Health Orthopedic Institute. Call 330.379.5051 to schedule an appointment.


Nilesh Shah, MD

Sports Medicine

Summa Health Orthopedic Institute