• Global Running Day encourages people to have a more active lifestyle
  • Running has been proven to lengthen a person's lifespan
  • Cardiovascular exercises make people smarter and more confident

Running isn't easy. Although sitting on your couch is more tempting than getting yourself out there and being physically active, there is no denying the fact that running brings in many health benefits.

Global Running Day 2021 falls on a Wednesday and is celebrated annually every second day of June, according to National Today. The holiday is dedicated to inspire and encourage more people to lead an active lifestyle, regardless of the distance they can cover by stretching their legs.

Below are 12 of the most surprising effects of running and how it can generally improve your life, courtesy of Run Repeat and Women's Health Mag:

1. It makes you smarter
A study has found that people who participate in recreational activities such as running process information faster and have better memory in general.

2. It boosts your confidence
Running makes you feel better about yourself. According to various studies, people who exercise have a healthier body image. This is because constantly practicing doing hard things gives you the confidence to also do hard things in other aspects of your life.

3. Running has the same effects as recreational drugs
Running elicits the same pleasure and reward receptors of your brain as recreational drugs do. This then causes you to get a natural high but without the drugs!

4. It adds years to your life
On top of everything, running increases your lifespan. In a study by the Stanford University of School Medicine, results have shown that after 21 years of observation, 85% of runners were still alive compared to the 66% of non-runners.

5. Running improves your love life
Running significantly improves men's testosterone levels and even increases their sperm count, research has found. Surveys also suggested that couples who run together have sex more often.

Man Running On the Road
Plan and prioritize your goals. Your sacrifice can make a difference. Photo: Pixabay (CC0)

6. It makes you sleep like a baby
Cardiovascular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and better. A Peloton tread instructor named Jess Sims attested to this.

“Running helps you fall asleep faster, which in turn allows you to sleep more,” she said. “The more you sleep, the more likely you are to stick with an exercise routine."

7. Running makes you more creative
Aside from improving your mood, aerobic exercises such as running are known to boost creativity.

8. It lessens your risk of getting heart disease
Running is known to lessen one's risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 45%, according to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. This is because the activity improves one's blood pressure as well as blood sugar sensitivity.

9. Reduces the risk of cancer
High levels of physical activity lessen your chances of developing illnesses such as colon, breast and gastric cancers. Running, in particular, lowers the risk of these cancers from developing.

10. It improves your follow-through
Sticking to a habit of running improves your overall follow-through even in other aspects of life because it teaches you to stick through challenging tasks, no matter how mundane.

11. It gives you more control of your life
Participating in an aerobic exercise like running activates the area of the brain that is responsible for executive functions such as working memory and attention control. In turn, this allows you to more easily achieve your goals without losing focus.

In a study published on Frontiers in Physiology, researchers found that people who are more physically fit tend to handle negative emotions better than those who are not.

12. It makes you happier
Endocannabinoids are activated whenever you run. This, in turn, makes you feel happier and boosts your mood significantly. What's more, the Vitamin D you get from all that sunlight improves your overall well-being as well.

aerobic exercise to get rid of visceral fat
aerobic exercise to get rid of visceral fat arembowski - Pixabay