Many Americans live very sedentary lives, leading to adverse health outcomes. In fact, inactivity is a significant risk factor for mortality. So, clinicians want to get people moving and often promote running to improve health. It’s important to properly understand the effects of running on major health indicators so that we can get the most benefit out of running.
What are the effects of running on the body?
Inactive adults can use running to improve their health. According to a meta-analysis published in Sports Medicine, runners see improvements in several prominent health indicators such as body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, and blood serum indicators. Plus, the more runners train, the bigger gains they typically see.
Over time, endurance running increases lipid metabolism, which reduces body fat. In fact, the meta-analysis found that after a year of training, runners lost 2.7% body fat and 3.3 kilograms of body mass on average. In addition, men tended to lose more than women for both measures. However, the article found no statistically significant change in lean body mass and BMI. Therefore, the reduction of body fat percentage and the consistent lean body mass contribute to a decrease in body mass.
Regular exercise increases blood volume and cardiac output, which, in turn, delivers more oxygen around the body. So, running improves both resting heart rate and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). However, these improvements tend to affect males more than females. Still, the more you train, the greater the gains in both resting heart rate and VO2max that you tend to see.
Blood Serum Indicators
Research shows that running programs reduce triglycerides, the most common form of fat in the bloodstream. So, a reduction in body fat contributes to lower triglyceride levels. In addition, running increases high-density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol in the blood. However, there’s no evidence of it reducing low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol.
The Effects of Running on Major Health Indicators
Health care practitioners can use this information to advise patients. Running can one of many effective ways to address high body fat and elevated triglycerides. When people know the effects of running on major health indicators, they are more likely to incorporate this activity into their routine.
The COR Running Program offers individualized feedback to any runner — from beginner to elite athlete. Call our office to refer a patient at 201-833-1333.
Before starting any running program, you should talk to your primary health care provider about the safety of running.