I think most people know that running has a lot of health advantages. In fact, benefits abound. It’s different, however, reading or just plain acknowledging the benefits and seeing them transform your body.
Obviously, running can lead to weight loss if you watch your diet. We made the mistake of just running at the very beginning and saw some benefits. I think in the first 6 weeks to 8 weeks we lost 5 kg. But, in the third month things sort of plateaued. That’s when we started watching our food intake more carefully and we immediately started losing weight again. We are about halfway through what our initial weight loss goal was, 27 kg, so I hope this continues.
Aside from weight loss, though, we have both reaped some anticipated and unexpected rewards. My husband has had a high heart-rate since I’ve known him. And when we met he was a toothpick of a guy (post-marriage we really did start packing on the pounds). He had worked out before when we met, but wasn’t doing anything at the time. His high heart-rate was always a strange anomaly. But, more recently, we noticed his high heart-rate was getting higher. Resting it was always somewhere between 90 to 100 bpm. That is too high. Running has completely changed things. After just a couple months of running it started to decrease. Now, I’m so happy that it has settled around 70 to 80 bpm, within the normal range. Sometimes it is even in the 60s. I knew running would help this issue, but a 30% decrease was unexpected. We are both so pleased that he has experienced this healthy turnaround.
Another benefit of running that I didn’t quite expect was how it affects the shape of our bodies. I never thought running would slim my legs as much as it has. I have always, even at my slimmest, had big legs. Since I was young finding pants/jeans was always a little tricky because my waist was smaller than my thighs. Finding jeans was a challenge because my legs were proportionally bigger. Since we started running in March, the opposite is now true. Despite the visible muscles I now I have in my legs, which is pretty crazy, my legs have really slimmed down. It’s to the point where my waist is now proportional to my legs. I actually anticipated the opposite to be true, but I have been pleasantly surprised. And the same is true for my husband. He already had muscular legs, but they got even more muscular and thinner at the same time. I never read about this effect of running, but I’ll keep it!
Running has also strengthened my back, which has always been an issue for me since I had a car accident in my 20s, and it has really helped me strengthen my abs. Both of these have helped reduce the number of times my back has had pain, which normally happens 3 or 4 times a year and can put me in bed for at least a few days. I’ve only had 1 flare-up since starting running and it was not as bad as previous ones.
We also have more energy. We are moving more and feel more energetic. Don’t get me wrong, I still get tired, but yesterday for example we walked more than 3 hours during the day because we chose to walk instead of drive or take a taxi, and we don’t feel any residual fatigue this morning (I hope that off-sets not running yesterday). That would never have been the case prior to starting running.
Running has also given me more confidence. Because we are following a plan that started very small – running 1 minute / walking 1 minute 8 times – we have very gradually bumped up the running time to 3 intervals of 18 minutes. It feels like this has happened so quickly. But, it is very satisfying to have a running goal and meet it every time. If any of you are interested in starting to run, I highly recommend using run/walk intervals because we didn’t have any muscle aches or pains or undue fatigue, and if the two of us chubbies can do this then I know everyone can.
What are some of the benefits of running that you have experienced?