Steps to a Better Life: The Many Benefits of Running and Walking

When the weather’s good, many of our neighborhoods bustle with the activity of runners, joggers and people out for a stroll. Throughout the year, bulletin boards and Facebook feeds tell of the latest 5K, 10K or community walkathon. Why do so many people run or walk regularly? It’s simple: physical activity improves health and well-being. Read on to discover just a few of the many benefits.

Live Longer

Regular exercise might add years to your life. A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that runners, on average, live longer and have a lower risk of death from many common diseases. A study by the American Cancer Society found the same thing for walkers. The takeaway: get off the couch and maybe add years to your life.

Prevent Diseases and Illnesses

Running, jogging and walking can’t prevent diseases on their own, but they definitely help. According to the American Cancer Society, studies have found that walking helps lower risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, heart disease and diabetes. And a recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that runners have a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases, cancers and other illnesses.

Mental Health

Walking, jogging and running not only help your physical health – they improve your mental well-being too! According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, these activities can help lower stress, boost self-esteem, enhance your mood and relieve feelings of anxiety and depression. Running, jogging and walking can also improve your overall cognitive function.

Better Sleep

Yep, running and walking can even improve the ZZZs you get each night. According to experts at the Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep, aerobic exercises can help you fall asleep quicker and improve the overall quality of your nightly rest.

And Much More

We’ve only scratched the surface. Every year researchers discover additional ways physical activity improves our health. So ask your doctor what’s best for you, and then go for a stroll, take a jog or hit the pavement in your running shoes. Want to challenge yourself? Perhaps even sign up for that upcoming 5K, 10K or walkathon you’ve been considering.

Don’t sit on the sidelines. Run towards a healthier life!

Interested in learning more? Check out these links below: