In Honor of Usain Bolt’s Birthday and Our Health, Let’s Run!
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder
Today is Jamaican track superstar Usain Bolt’s 34th birthday! The eight-time Olympic gold medalist and recently new father to a baby girl has a lot to celebrate. Despite having scoliosis, Bolt is arguably the fastest man in the world.
Some might argue that Usain is probably one of those genetic outliers. But with hard work and dedication, we can perform amazing physical feats (even despite age).
So, in honor of Bolt’s birthday, let’s run through (pun intended) how running may benefit our health. And, no, you do not have to be a world class sprinter or long distance runner.
“Marathoners are the thoroughbreds of high-performance runners, but even the draft horses of the running world — slow and steady joggers — improve their health,” reports Harvard Health.
Harvard discusses a study which found evidence suggesting that just five to 10 minutes of low-intensity running a day can extend a person’s life by several years (compared to not running at all).
“The new study focused on a group of more than 55,000 men and women ages 18 to 100. About a quarter of them were runners. Over 15 years, those who ran just 50 minutes a week or fewer at a moderate pace were less likely to die from either cardiovascular disease or any cause, compared with those who didn’t run at all.”
That’s huge. Ten minutes of running just five days a week is certainly achievable for most and can make a huge difference in your health. Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading killers of American men and women, so anything to help combat this is crucial.Mental Health
Have you ever heard of the “runner’s high?” Well, running may have great mental benefits.
“As you hit your stride, your body releases hormones called endorphins. Popular culture identifies these as the chemicals behind “runner’s high,” a short-lasting, deeply euphoric state following intense exercise,” reports John Hopkins Medicine.
Furthermore, “That relaxed post-run feeling may instead be due to endocannabinoids — biochemical substances similar to cannabis but naturally produced by the body...Unlike endorphins, endocannabinoids can move easily through the cellular barrier separating the bloodstream from the brain, where these mood-improving neuromodulators promote short-term psychoactive effects such as reduced anxiety and feelings of calm.”
Some people may be afraid to run because it is a high-impact exercise. The fear may be that it will be too hard on the joints and cause damage.
However, “The knees absorb a lot of force when running, so many people think that running itself can accelerate the natural wear and tear on the joints. But in fact, the medical research tends to show that running has a protective effect against arthritis. Studies of large numbers of men show that recreational runners have a lower risk of hip and knee arthritis,” according to Harvard Health.
No Equipment Needed Other Than Yourself!
No Equipment Needed Other Than Yourself
A regular complaint I hear these days is that we can’t go to gyms. Many people also tell me they don’t enjoy working out at home or that depending on where they live, it’s just too hot!
Honestly, we can’t use these factors as excuses if we want to live our healthiest and happiest lives. The great part about running is that you don’t need any equipment or gym. And if it’s warm where you live, start waking up early and get a quiet, peaceful morning run in. This “alone time” can really do wonders and provide an escape from the stress of the pandemic and spending so much time inside.
This may be obvious, but we have to acknowledge that running is great for burning major calories. And if you think running is mainly a lower body workout, think again. Running is also great for the core and shoulders.
Don't Forget To Hydrate & Fuel
As with any physical activity, it is very important to stay hydrated and fuel the body properly with adequate amounts of the essential vitamins and minerals.
And if you have any existing injuries or health issues, speak with a competent healthcare professional before becoming an avid runner.
Happy birthday Bolt!
Enjoy your healthy life!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.