Taking up running can really change your life. It’s not just a way of exercising but also involves joining a community of athletes who are dedicated to improving their lives and overall health to become the best versions of themselves.
As with any exercise, running changes your body and some of its functions. If you are looking to start running, then you might be curious as to what these changes are. We’re going to explore them here in this article.
Whether you’re in it to run or jog, your body will thank you for it. Read on to find out more.
You Will Lose Body Fat
When people want to know what exactly running does to the body, they often think about losing weight. The process of losing weight is actually quite a simple one and involves the balance of caloric intake and caloric loss – running can be an excellent way for you to burn calories.
You burn almost twice as many calories when running as you do when walking, and each mile you run equates to about 100 calories burned. What’s more, you don’t have to pay for an overpriced gym membership; you can run anywhere you want, and all you really need is a good pair of running shoes. Developing a regular running regime is a great way to lose weight.
Of course, as with anything, there are a few caveats. Running makes you hungry, sometimes even starving. If you forget to fuel up before you start running, the only thing you’re going to be thinking about is how hungry you are and how good a burger would be at that moment. This can be tricky for runners who are trying to lose weight.
You don’t want to eat all of the calories you have just burned by reaching for a delicious slice of pizza. It can be very tempting, but giving in to these temptations is going to leave you feeling horrible about yourself. To combat this, we suggest that you ensure that the foods you are eating align with your diet and weight loss plans.
Filling up on whole-grain carbs, lentils, and beans with lots of fresh vegetables and fruits is often the best course of action, and you would do well to prepare a healthy snack before you start running that you can eat when you get back.
If you are running to lose weight, be realistic with your expectations. Get used to running first, and after about two weeks when you have made a habit of the activity, then you can start overhauling your diet, one small step at a time. Changing everything at once is never the best course of action.
You’ll Have More Toned Thighs
If you have always wanted to do away with the fat on the top of your thighs, then running is the solution. It’s hard to think of any runners who don’t have nice, toned thighs. The sport is a fantastic workout for your legs – obviously – and regular running will render your thigh fat a thing of the past. You can also consider adding weightlifting to your running regime, they do mix!
Your Calfs Will Become More Muscled
Of course, if running is going to tone your legs, it’s definitely going to improve your calves since you use them plenty when running. There is a bit of a downside to this, however, because when your calves are larger due to increased muscle, you will have a harder time fitting into skinny jeans, boots, or anything that requires your legs to be as thin as a twig.
This probably won’t bother you, since you’ll be too busy running and getting the body of your dreams, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.
Your Breasts Will Get Smaller
Regardless of your sex, when you take up running, you are going to lose weight in your chest, which is going to make that area look smaller. Your cleavage will definitely still be noticeable and attractive, and we suggest that you continue to wear a sports bra no matter how small your breasts get so that everything stays in place and you aren’t bouncing all over the place.
This isn’t about looks – sports bras are essential for ladies when running to protect the Cooper’s ligaments that support the breasts from stretching. Running without a sports bra can be very painful.
You’ll Have Smaller Arms
This can be considered another downside for anyone that is looking to build their muscles since, if you are running regularly and intensely, any muscles that you are not actively using will slim down. This can result in smaller arms for anyone that doesn’t also perform resistance training.
Thankfully, there is a way that you can avoid having sticks for arms – combine running with yoga or any other weight-bearing exercise that works your arms out well, and they’ll stay a good size.
You’ll Sleep So Much Better
Physical exercise increases the amount of time you spend in deep sleep and can even help with insomnia. The only requirement for this is that you avoid performing any intense activities – including running – in the hours before you hit the sack.
Rather than cramming in a late-night run because you forgot to go earlier, set your alarm for an early morning run. Running earlier in the day will allow you to reap all the rewards when it’s time to go to sleep, and you’ll sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed.
You’ll Feel Great
To put it plainly, running makes you feel good. It builds confidence and gives you energy, which can really help you if you are looking to be more outgoing. However, there’s more than just the physical side of things when talking about the ways that running changes your body.
Running can be a great way to grow your social circle and make new friends, and you will find yourself enjoying your journey toward becoming a healthier, fitter person. Being able to run to catch the bus, move better and get the most your body has to offer really does just make you feel so much better. You don’t need much more than running shoes to get started either.
What Happens When You First Start Running?
When you first start running, you are going to find yourself out of breath quite quickly, and your heart rate is going to spike. You are inhaling oxygen into your lungs, and your heart is then pumping oxygenated blood to your muscles.
You aren’t going to feel the best, and your stomach might feel a little strange. This is because it is working on breaking down energy, which causes the cells of your muscles to release gas. Your muscles will begin to use Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) as an energy source.
This organic compound is responsible for providing energy for your cells and is stored in glycogen within your blood and muscles, though we only have small amounts in our bodies at a time. As you progress through your running journey, your body will begin to produce more and more.
You’ll Need More Oxygen
In order for your body to be able to create ATP, it needs quite a lot of oxygen. This is why you start to breathe faster and harder when you run, since your body diverts blood away from anything that is non-essential, including your digestion. It’s the reason that it is hard to eat and run.
When you are running, you are burning calories, your core body temperature increases, and lactic acid builds up in your muscles. The classic red face happens as a result of blood being diverted nearer to the skin to be cooled, and you start to sweat profusely so that your body can cool down.
Running Can Help With Depressive Disorders
When you run, your body creates endorphins and endocannabinoids that enhance your mood, and this is why the legendary “runner’s high” exists. Don’t just take our word for it – try it out for yourself. No matter how difficult you feel that your run is, you are guaranteed to come back feeling better about yourself.
Does Running Hurt the Knees?
Many people will try to convince you that running hurts your knees, but is this just a myth, or is there some truth to it? Science suggests the former.
There is really no evidence that proves that running is bad for the knees, and in fact, weight-bearing exercises can actually help you protect yourself against osteoporosis. That doesn’t mean that you will be immune to the occasional pain in the knees.
Patellar tendinitis, runner’s knee, or iliotibial band syndrome are common injuries that come with too much running and overuse. Like any other sport, it is important that you respect your body and understand your physical limits.
We strongly suggest that you take the time to build your running miles bit by bit, since doing so will not only help you avoid injury, but also will help you avoid an imbalance in your muscles. One of the best ways that you can keep yourself is to perform regular yoga.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start running! You’ll thank yourself a hundred times over for it. If you’re looking for some shoes you can check out the collection we’ve reviewed over at JogTunes.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.