Running is the most natural exercise
for a human being. When a small infant starts walking, he tries to
run as it is more natural for him. Due to the benefits of running,
millions of people all over the world are running and the numbers
are constantly increasing.
The advantages of running are enumerated below:
The maximum benefits occur in the heart as the muscles of
two ventricles which pump out blood become thicker and both the
interiors of these chambers become larger in size by 20 percent.
This enables both the ventricles to pump out more blood with each
The heart rate reduces and goes down to 40-50 per minute. Giving
the heart time to relax as each beat pumps out more blood than
usual. This also enables more blood supply to the heart muscles,
giving it more power. Simultaneously, the coronary arteries which
supply blood to the heart muscles become larger in diameter and
supply more blood to the heart muscles, making it more powerful.
Population studies have revealed that runners suffer less from
Improvement of blood chemistry
Running reduces blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride which indirectly contribute to
heart attacks. HDL cholesterol which protects from heart attacks
increases with running and even goes up to 80 to 100 mg. Running
causes stimulation of the hypothalamus in the brain, leading to an
anti-clotting factor named Plasminogen Activator which like
Streptokinase prevents clot formation in coronary arteries,
preventing heart attack. Running improves glucose tolerance and
helps diabetics to control blood sugar.
This is the best thing that happens to a
runner. Few scientific studies have been done in this area but
some have shown that running addiction is associated with high
frequency running and positive personality, though not with mood
enhancement. Some scientific studies have shown that marathon
runners are below normal in anxiety, low in tension, depression
and hostility. Among runners there is improved self-concept, sense
of control and body image. Runners have better concentration in
professional work, a positive outlook towards life and better
Anti-obesity: Running reduces body weight and obesity.
Anti-smoking: The running habit stops smoking.
Anti-ageing: Runners are slower to grow old. Physiologically, age
increases 10-15 percent in 10 years. But runners grow old by 5
percent in 10 years.
Respiratory Functions: With running, lung functioning improves and
breathing becomes effortless after some time. Even asthma patients
can improve by starting slow running.
Sleep: Runners have no sleep problems and they feel fresh every
It was published a few years back that in a UK drug addiction
centre, patients were given a daily running routine of 30-40
minutes and they showed quicker response to therapy.
From kings and presidents to criminals on death row, everyone is
taking a shot at running and the marathon is the most popular mass
participation sports in the world. People with blindness,
artificial legs, cardiac transplants, terminal cancer run
marathons to feel happy.
It has become a most popular mass participation sport. In all,
more than 1,000 marathons are organised in the world every year
and billions take part. People of all ages and from all strata of
society run marathons together.
I have seen 98 years old completing full marathons. One person
with a heart transplant ran a marathon with me. I have run with
amputees, I have seen many running after bypass cardiac surgery. I
have seen a millionaire having his own Jet plane running a
marathon with common men. In contrast I ran with a prisoner on
death row - he was wearing stripped pyjamas and his right arm and
leg were shackled in thick chains.
Dr. [Wing Commander] Ashis Roy is a physician
cardiologist and served in the Indian Air Force for 21 years. By
the time he was 79, he completed 131 marathons which is an Indian
record. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org