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Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

Is running worth it?

Junior+Eva+Veizis+runs+a+cross-country+home+meet+versus+Walter+Johnson+on+Sep.+20.+Vaizis+is+a+top+10+runner+for+the+girls+and+is+finishing+her+last+lap+on+one+of+the+first+races+of+the+season.+%E2%80%9CI+enjoy+running+because+it+helps+relieve+me+from+stress%2C%E2%80%9D+Vaizis+said.
Photo by Jim Eppard
Junior Eva Veizis runs a cross-country home meet versus Walter Johnson on Sep. 20. Vaizis is a top 10 runner for the girls and is finishing her last lap on one of the first races of the season. “I enjoy running because it helps relieve me from stress,” Vaizis said.

Running is a popular form of exercise. Despite that truth, some may wonder if running is worth the effort? While there is a lot of research on the benefits of running, not everyone is convinced it is worth the effort or risk of injury.

Some people don’t think running is worth it because runners are prone to injury. However, while it is common for runners to experience minor injuries like shin splints and knee pain, major injuries are less common. More serious running injuries occur when someone overtrains and continues running despite already having an injury, but by taking the right precautions injuries are avoidable.

While there is a possibility of getting some form of injury while running, there are also benefits. Running can strengthen muscles and bones, improve cardiovascular fitness and help maintain a healthy weight. Research has shown it can also decrease risk of cardiovascular disease.

Running has more than just physical benefits, it also helps improve mental health. Studies have shown that adults getting at least 2.5 hours of exercise per week had a 25% lower risk of depression compared to people who don’t exercise. It has also been shown that running helps improve working memory and focus, as well as improved task-switching ability.

The National Institute of Health did a study that found running can increase mood, happiness and outlook. It can also relieve anger, depression and aggression. The study demonstrated the emotional benefits of running, including 59.1% of respondents who reported they were more self-confident, 56.8% were happier, 50.0% were in a better mood, 45.5% said it helped relieve tension, 36.4% had better self-image, 36.4% said it relieved depression, and 34.1% said it improved their outlook.

Another study compared running to meditation and deep breathing. The study found that running for 15 minutes can increase mood and energy levels, and running was an even more effective tool for relaxing than meditation and deep breathing.

You don’t need to be running far distances to receive the benefits of running. Studies show that even running one mile a couple of times a week can help you live longer and reduce risks of disease. A 15-year study including over 55,000 Americans found that running 5-10 minutes per day reduced risks for most causes of death and can add years to your life.

Another physical benefit of running is increased muscle strength. Running strengthens muscles such as hamstrings, glutes and quads. It has also been shown that running increases bone density. A study conducted in 2021 looked at bone density in runners between the ages of 40 and 85. It measured their bone density at the beginning of the study and then 10 years later and found that people who ran regularly had maintained bone strength and some even improved their density.
While running is difficult and carries a risk of injury, the benefits make running worth it, especially if you are a student as it can relieve stress and increase focus. As a beginner running can be very difficult but the more you run the easier and more enjoyable it will be.

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About the Contributor
Gabi Wallace, staff writer
Gabriella Wallace is a staff writer in her first year on the Common Sense staff. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family and running on the track and cross country team. You can contact her at [email protected].
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