There’s no denying that we're facing unprecedented challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Routines have gone out of the window, long-awaited events are falling like dominos and developments are evolving at such a breakneck pace that it’s hard to keep up from one hour to the next.
During these uncertain times, staying fit and healthy has never been more crucial. While group running sessions are off the cards for the foreseeable future, there’s currently no advice preventing us being outside and running in the fresh air on our own and at a safe distance from others. Furthermore, the benefits of outdoor exercise are far-reaching, so we’re here to give you the lowdown on why staying active can help you stay well.
Protecting your mental health during these unprecedented times is vital. Studies have shown that as little as 10 minutes of exercise per day has a hugely positive impact on mental health. Running, and exercise generally, is consistently proven to decrease levels of stress and anxiety, while at the same time releasing feel-good chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin to help boost your mood and energy levels.
Strengthen your body
Running regularly helps keep our bodies fighting fit, strengthening our lungs, controlling our blood pressure and reinforcing our immune system. Keeping fit means our bodies are better equipped to fight infection and disease.
The benefits to our bodies are arguably even greater when running outside. The varying terrain that comes with running outdoors means that muscle groups have to respond differently compared to treadmill running, helping to prevent injury. The resistance of a hard dirt path or pavement under your feet also strengthens your bones and joints.
Essential ‘me time’
With increasing numbers of families forced to spend endless hours cooped up indoors together, getting outside for a solo run can provide some much-needed solitude and headspace. Carving out that time for yourself, even for just 20 minutes, can be the perfect antidote to a stressful and no doubt intense living situation.
Catch those Z’s
It’s no surprise that sleep is in short supply for a lot of us at the moment, with heightened levels of anxiety and stress playing havoc with our usual sleeping patterns. Prolonged lack of sleep can lead to poor concentration, a weakened immune system and an increased risk of serious illness.
Escaping out onto the trails to blow out the cobwebs can help to aid your sleep, allowing you to release pent up adrenaline and give you more chance of a restful night ahead.
Vitamin D boost
Fresh air and time spent outside have long been known to have a myriad of benefits. Exposure to sunlight helps to keep your vitamin D levels topped up, essential for ensuring you absorb calcium for healthy bones and teeth.
Additionally, fresh air pumps higher levels of oxygen into your bloodstream, increasing your levels of serotonin which improves your mood. Oxygen also helps to keep our white blood cells functioning effectively and encourages airborne toxins to be released from our lungs - all essential for promoting a robust immune system.
Stay Well, Keep Active and Run Responsibly.
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