Run commuting can be a wonderful way to improve your lifestyle. The benefits of running to work are numerous – not least because it enables you to fit a run into your daily routine without dedicating a huge swath of additional time to working out! We are huge fans of a morning run to work or an evening jog home, and this article gives our top 10 benefits – 5 obvious and 5 surprising – of running to work.
First of all, let’s look at the obvious benefits!
1. Running to work will keep you fit
By travelling to work under your own steam, one step at a time, you’re making a critical change to your daily routine. Rather than just sitting in a car, bus or train for a while and magically arriving at your destination, you’re swapping time you would have been sat down for time spent running.
The health benefits of running are well known, strengthening your heart, giving you a vigorous cardiovascular workout, working your muscles, getting your blood flowing and burning calories. By making a run part of your work routine, you give yourself an easy way to fit a healthy fitness workout into your day – reducing your risk of heart attacks, angina, high blood pressure and strokes.
2. Running to work will save you money
Running to work, whether a short run of only a few miles or a longer run of 8 miles or more, can slot easily into your workday routine by replacing your previous method of travel. Maybe you drove to work, maybe you took a bus or tram or train, or maybe you just walked and spent a bit longer travelling. However you used to commute, it took money out of your pocket and time out of your day.
As well as replacing travel time, running to work can also replace a trip to the gym. Why spend money to run on a treadmill when you could hit the streets on your way to work? Run commuting helps you spend less money on travel, can save money on gym membership, and you’ll get to work feeling great about yourself.
3. Run commuting is free
Got a pair of trainers or sneakers lying around? Do they fit? Great, then you’re ready to get started running to work. Run commuting doesn’t have to be any more complicated or expensive then just getting out the door and heading to work in your old trainers and a t-shirt.
Of course, there’s much more you can do to optimise your run commute – getting some dedicated running shoes, buying a great running backpack, picking up a GPS watch to help you track your training, or getting some high-vis running clothing – but none of it is necessary, and you can add it when you feel like it. From day one, running to work doesn’t cost a penny.
4. Running helps you lose weight
We all need to lose a few pounds every now and again, and running is a fantastic way to help manage your weight. Fat can be hard to shift, but an average person can burn over 300 calories in a half an hour of running – burning more calories than almost any other form of exercise!
It can take a while to get into a routine, but once you start running regularly you’ll find your body changing – losing fat, gaining muscle, looking toned and feeling good.
5. Running can reduce stress
Running is excellent at reducing stress levels, bringing benefits to the mind as well as the body. Exercise has many proven benefits for mental health, and the chance to reflect, think about issues than have been bothering you, or just let it all go is too good to miss. Running to work will help you arrive at work – or at home – in a peaceful state of mind, free from all the usual background noise.
We see that there are plenty of obvious benefits, but that’s not all you get from run commuting. There are some more surprising upsides to running to work, too!
6. A run will make you feel awake and alert
You might think that exercise would leave you tired, drained and in need of a nap – but the reality is just the opposite! Running flushes the body with oxygen, gets the heart pumping, and revitalises every part of the body – including the brain. In fact, runners often talk about the “runner’s high”: feelings of happiness, boundless energy and a sense of relaxation and readiness during or after a run. This jolt of energy can raise your awareness and mental outlook, helping you get through your work day feeling alert and ready to go.
7. Charity fund-raising is easier than ever
We all like to do our bit for charity, and once you’ve got yourself into the swing of regularly running to work then a charity fundraiser becomes easier than ever! If you can run a few miles to work, then all of a sudden running 5km or even 10km for a charity race seems much less daunting. Now you can get out there to raise money for good causes while barely breaking a sweat.
8. Running home helps you to clear your mind
Fitting a run in after work can give you the perfect opportunity to clear your mind at the end of a hard or stressful day. The obvious change in setting, pace and activity is a great signal to your brain that you’ve finished work for the day and are ready to go home – helping you “switch gears” more effectively and put your work worries or ideas out of your mind until the next day. Take the opportunity to run home, get any lingering thoughts out of your mind on the way, and arrive home ready to enjoy your “me time”.
9. Quality of sleep is improved by exercise
Running hard once or twice during the day gives your body a thorough workout and works your muscles like nothing else. The physical stress of the workout leaves your body stronger, but in need of recovery time – otherwise known as sleep! Your brain knows that you need a good restful night of sleep to repair your muscles and strengthen your legs, and this translates into much higher quality sleep than you might get after a day of sitting around doing nothing.
10. Workouts like running can improve your sex-life
Several medical studies have shown that runners, or other people who exercise regularly, tend to have more sex and much better sex. A surprising Harvard University study found that people between 40 and 60 years old who regularly exercise typically have the same amount of sex as non-athletes 20 years younger then them! It also found that male runners are more likely and are more able to achieve and maintain an erection, and that female runners are more easily aroused and have better orgasms! Phew. I think I’d better go for a run.
So there you have it! Running has such a huge range of benefits – we’ve only scratched the surface – and by running to work you can enjoy them immediately as part of your daily routine. What are you waiting for? Get going!