• Helen Phillips

5 Reasons to Run ... Apart from for Weight-loss

Lots of people start out running with a desire to lose weight. Running is just about the best cardio exercise you can do to shift those excess pounds. You burn almost 100 calories for every 10 minutes of running, so as long as you eat sensibly, a balance healthy diet to fuel and recover from your runs, you should lose excess weight.

But there are many more reasons to run. Here the top 5 Reasons I Run ... apart from weight loss!

1. Stress Relief

When you have a busy work and family life, finding time to run can feel stressful in itself! But once you're out the door, and it's just you and the road, you can relax.

I use my long runs as a chance to switch off. To be at one with my breathing and the repetitive cadence of my stride, it's almost hypnotic.

Running I like to take in and become aware of my surroundings, the fields, buildings and people around. If I'm not in training then it's a real pleasure to get out and run to explore the city or country. Working in London I love to run along The Embankment and around all the famous city streets past the tourist hot spots and landmarks. And living in the country, to run past fields, occasionally seeing birds of prey circling, herds of cows in fields and deer in the forest.

Running, like other forms of endurance exercise, produces endorphins, the runners high, so you'll bound to feel happier and less stressed when you're done.

2. Mental Health

Scientists believe that physical activity, and running, can help maintain and improve mental health wellbeing in a number of ways. It can help people with mild depression and evidence shows that activity can help people manage anxiety.

Physical activity causes chemical changes in the brain, which can help to positively change our mood. And some scientists think that being active can improve your overall confidence and wellbeing because it brings about a sense of greater self-esteem, self-control and the ability to rise to a challenge.

If you saw the programme 'Mind Over Matter' which followed a group of individuals who suffered from a range of mental health conditions as they trained for the 2017 Virgin London marathon, you'll have seen what an amazing impact running can have for people with mental health issues.

3. Running Makes Your Stronger

Combining running with strength training and eating a balanced healthy diet and you'll tone up and condition your body. Focus on becoming lean and strong, rather than lithe and skinny.

4. Running Makes You More Focused on Your Goals

It's not just improved physical strength you get from running. Running can help you become more focused on your life goals. Setting yourself challenging goals, from running for 30 minutes, up an 'impossibly steep hill' or training for a marathon will make you a stronger, more resilient person, giving you the strength to overcome challenges and issues in other areas of your life.

The first marathon I ran was tough. But I was a changed woman when I crossed the finish line. At school I was not sporty, athletic or fit. So that marathon was my chance to prove them wrong. That day brought me a newfound confidence in my strength, resilience and determination to achieve. You don't have to run marathons, but running and achieving fitness goals will make you stronger more focused to see through all of your life challenges.

Also, following a training programme for a race requires planning, sacrifice and organisation. All essential skills to succeed in business and in life!

5. Running Allows Your to Have a 'Healthy Appetite'

FACT ... running burns more calories than sitting on the sofa. If you run you can cut yourself some slack to enjoy life, whether that's the occasional glass of wine, bar of chocolate or Chinese take-away.

You'll also run faster and stronger with a balanced healthy diet, but being a regular runner your resting metabolism is likely to be high and you'll burn more calories in the week to enjoy life's foodie luxuries.

If you're interested in learning more about how to combine a balanced healthy diet with running check out my programme Eat Right for Running. Click here for details.