What Running Really Does to Your Body?

What Running Really Does to Your Body

Whether you are a rookie or an experienced runner, it is essential to understand the physiological effects it has on your body. This is what running really does to your body, broken down and explained.

Brain

Running long distances triggers the release of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that produce feeling of euphoria. This can go so far, so it numbs the body from physical pain. Other neurotransmitters include dopamine (the hormone of happiness), which plays a huge role in mood-regulation. All of this combined will contribute to immediate mood-boosting effect after running. It also reduces symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.

Heart and lungs

Picking up pace makes the heart and lungs pick up pace. They have to supply the muscles with oxygen-rich blood to give them energy. The heart is a muscle, and just like the other muscles, it can experience fatigue. So, it is important to ‘train’ the heart to endure longer distances, same as we ‘train’ our legs. Each time you run, the idea is to increase your “maximal oxygen uptake,” which measures how efficient you are at using oxygen. This measure is considered to be one of the best indicators of cardiovascular fitness, and a higher oxygen uptake in turn allows your muscles to increase their capacity to efficiently create energy.

Digestive system

One of the most common problem for runners is stomach pain. The reason behind this is that our body drives blood towards our muscles, and away from the stomach, resulting in slow digestion. Thus, a big meal before a run is NEVER a good option! If you want to fuel your body before going for a run, always opt for a small and light meal, like a piece of fruit.

Body temperature

While it is commonly believed that running increases our body temperature, it may actually cause hypothermia. How? While running, you are decreasing your body temperature by sweating. This can lead to serious problems, particularly in colder climates.

Weight loss

Going for a run helps you lose weight, of course. While running, you are burning calories and your fat slowly turns into muscles. Along with endurance, it also strengthens bones and muscles and bolsters metabolism, however at a certain point, lean muscle will not continue to increase with running, as the repetitive nature of running only requires a certain level of muscle recruitment for sustainability. Running, combined with resistant training, will help you achieve the desired level of fat vs. muscle.

To conclude, running is good and healthy and you should run as often as you can, and combine it with some resistant training, in order to stay fit. But, do not go too far, because you can cause your body certain problems, mentioned earlier in this article. Stay fit, stay healthy!