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It’s Running Day: a time to celebrate the sweat that beads on the skin, the crisp air that rushes into your lungs, the far houses set in black profile against an amber dawn.

These will be images runners will recognise. They’re part of a ritual that helps keep mind and body alive to the world.

But running doesn’t have to just be for athletes, gym goers or dedicated amateurs. It’s something almost anyone can do!

You don’t have to run a marathon - got a free 15 minutes before tea as your pasta boils? A lunch break long enough to lace up some trainers? Then you’ve got time to do the one physical activity that almost universally improves your physical and mental health.

 

Physical health

We all know going for a run is great for your health. But why?

Basically: stress.

Our bodies are built to move. The more you run, the more you stress your body’s systems. The more you stress those systems, the more they will improve to deal with that stress.

The long term benefits of regular running are jaw-dropping. A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology argues that regular runners had an up to 45% lower risk of all-cause and CVD mortality compared to non-runners.

According to the study, running even at lower doses is associated with significant mortality benefits. And these benefits increased the more regular the activity was over the course of a runner’s life.

Regular running also improves bone and joint health, heart health, overall muscle tone and can even significantly reduce your risk for cancer. That’s worth a few jogs, right?

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Psychological health

Most people tend to assume that our bodies and minds are separate domains – the mental versus the physical – but that’s not the case. Increased physical activity, on average, can improve sleep patterns and stress resistance, particularly in adolescents. This is because hormones (dopamine in particular) released by the brain during physical exercise act as a potent antidepressant.

Regular exercise also helps maintain your psychological integrity as you age and actively lowers an individual’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease and the associated memory loss. Acute bouts of exercise that don’t lead to dehydration can also improve everyday cerebral cognition.

If you’re losing focus, mentally overwhelmed at work or want to fight pernicious memory loss, some running might be just what you need.

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Creative health

Even before today’s scientific studies, physical exercise was long rumoured to help people jog their creativity. Writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau always promoted vigorous walking was an indispensible part of their creative process. Now, a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition by Stanford University brings scientific credence to those assertions.

In the study, researchers concluded that walking, whether inside on a treadmill or outside in the open air, eased the flow of ideas, with walking outside helping to generate the most novel and high quality thoughts.

If you’re in a position that requires creative or divergent thinking, take a light jog and let those ideas flow – you never know what might pop into your head. Most creative jobs are tied to a desk. The best way to think outside the box is to get out of the cubicle and into the wider world.

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AT TQUK, we offer several exercise based qualifications, including the TQUK Level 1 Award in Exercise Studies (RQF), the TQUK Level 1 Award in Healthy Living (RQF) and the TQUK Level 3 Certificate in Instructing Weight Training (RQF). We’re dedicated to delivering qualifications that ensure a quality education for learners that improve the health and happiness of those they treat.

Click here to see how we partnered with The Skills Network, one of the country’s leading providers of qualification resources and skills solutions, to make such qualifications more widely available.

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See you out there!