dr. Ivo Belan    

The US President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports asked seven top recreation experts to rank popular sports based on how well they help cardiovascular and respiratory endurance, muscles, muscle strength and flexibility, mental balance, and general physical well-being (for example, weight control, digestion, sleep). Their report showed that running is in first place, followed by: cycling, swimming and handball; in the middle of the table are tennis and walking, while bocce and golf are somewhere at the bottom. Running was also first in terms of the number of calories burned in one hour.

There are other benefits of running in relation to physical effects. All muscles, especially leg muscles, get stronger over time; their contractions become faster and stronger and the muscle is more durable. In systematically trained muscles, the arteries produce new branches, so the capillary network becomes denser. During running, all the largest muscle groups are activated: the muscles of the legs, trunk and upper part of the shoulder girdle. Repeated contractions of the leg muscles, together with deep breathing, ensure a good flow of venous blood towards the heart.

During physical activity, sugar is used in the muscles, with a significantly lower consumption of insulin - that's why increased physical activity is especially useful for diabetes patients (with an agreement with a doctor), as well as for people who are prone to diabetes.

Sweating caused by running is beneficial for the body. Different toxins are cleaned from the body in the shortest possible way, so that the liver and kidneys are not burdened. Sweating in steam, without physical effort, is an incomplete substitute for sweating while running. The eminent German internist Hochrein said: "It is more useful to sweat once a day (he meant exercise) than the effect of all the medicines combined." Really, don't we feel good after one profuse sweat?

There are those who are afraid that after running they might eat more and thus gain weight. Although it does not seem completely logical, the fact is that running usually does not increase appetite: on the contrary, it reduces it. Due to the strong activity of the leg muscles, blood from the stomach flows into the bloodstream of the legs and other parts of the body that participate in running, so the desire and need for food is reduced. Even during rest and while the body cools down, the appetite rarely increases to the intensity it was before running, i.e. it is less than normal.

Those who run regularly have better digestion and sounder sleep; they sleep better, but need less sleep. They suffer less often from headaches, migraines, pain in the stomach and gall bladder, less often bleed due to gastric or duodenal ulcers, from worsening and inflammation of varicose veins on the legs and hemorrhoids. They are more resistant to infections and colds. It is still inexplicable, but the fact is that those who start running regularly almost always stop smoking; already after a month, smokers breathe much easier and better. In addition, as a rule, they drink less alcohol. In many cases, they completely leave out strong drinks, and stop drinking alcohol.

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