As you may have seen, I’m working with The Brooke, a global animal welfare organisation dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules in some of the world’s poorest communities. As a means of helping to encourage people to sign up for the BUPA 10k and running in aid of the charity, I’m sharing some health and fitness tips when it comes to training so you’re in tip top condition!
In my last post I focused on tips for eating well while training; this time I want to share some of the many benefits about why running is so bloody good for you. From head to toe, running gives you a total body workout and benefits each part in different ways; it’s pretty impressive!
So if you’re unsure about jumping into training for a run, read on to discover how great it is for mind and body – and of course, you’d be running for a fantastic cause, too! There’s also a healthy recipe packed full of slow-releasing carbohydrates to fuel your body while you’re training!
It strengthens joints and muscles
If the risk of osteoarthritis is a worry, then running can really help to reduce – and even treat – this problem. If you take care to run sensibly, then your joints can really benefit from this exercise, as the muscles around the joints strengthen and take the pressure off them.
It lowers blood pressure
As muscles strengthen through exercise like running, new blood vessels grow, helping to reduce the pressure in the system and prevent atherosclerosis (the narrowing of blood vessels). It is important that a normal blood pressure is maintained for a healthy circulation.
It helps your body shape
You’ll burn around 550 calories an hour at a steady 6-mile per hour pace – or even if you’re just jogging, this can burn as many as 400 calories an hour. Either way, engaging in cardio that raises your heartbeat and gets you a little out of breathe helps to improve all-round fitness and maintain – or even lose – weight.
It helps to promote healthy skin
Running doesn’t just benefit your body on the inside, it can help your skin too. High stress levels can sometimes be to blame for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, but cardio exercise can have a calming influence and bring down feelings of anxiety.
It helps digestive problems
Suffer from IBS? Running is a great way to relieve the symptoms of this uncomfortable disorder, plus it can really help to ease bloating and constipation. According to health reports, running regularly even helps to halve your risk of bowel cancer.
It helps to prevent diseases
Just as with strengthening your joints and muscles, running regularly helps to improve and maintain the density of your bones, helping to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. You can even reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 35% and cut the risk of breast cancer by up to 20% as a result of regular running. Regular exercise like running and maintaining a healthy weight also lowers your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
It helps to boost the brain
You may experience a rush of endorphins after a training session or run which can make you feel happy, full of confidence and help to relieve stress and anxiety. Because running increases circulation to the brain, this can cut the risk of both dementia and having a stroke. Finally, you may find that running regularly helps your memory, concentration, energy levels and even helps you to get to sleep faster!
RECIPE – Carrot Cake Cookies
- 1 cup rolled oats (I used Mornflake)
- ½ cup almond flour (I used Sukrin)
- 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (I used PhD Nutrition)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon each of mixed spice, cinnamon and ginger
- 2 tablespoons Sukrin Gold brown sugar alternative
- 2 tablespoons flaxseeds
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened desiccated coconut
- 3-4 tablespoons raisins or sultanas
- 1 cup grated carrots (about 2-3 carrots)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons almond milk
- Preheat to oven to 180 degrees C and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- In a bowl, mix together the oats, flour, protein powder, baking powder, spices, brown sugar alternative, flaxseeds, desiccated coconut and raisins.
- Whisk together the egg, vanilla and almond milk in a jug.
- Stir the grated carrots into the dry ingredients, then pour in the egg mixture and mix well until all combined. You don’t want it too sticky (add more oats) or too dry (add more milk).
- Use a teaspoon to add small balls onto the baking sheet, leaving space between them, then press down with a fork. You should have about 9-12 depending how big you make each cookie.
- Bake for about 10-12 minutes, watching carefully so they don’t burn! When they are golden and have firmed up, remove from the oven. Leave to cool on the sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Inspired? Sign up for the BUPA 10K and get running for a fantastic cause!