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Running is a method of terrestrial locomotion allowing humans and other animals to move rapidly on foot. Running is a type of gait characterized by an aerial phase in which all feet are above the ground (though there are exceptions).[1] This is in contrast to walking, where one foot is always in contact with the ground, the legs are kept mostly straight and the center of gravity vaults over the stance leg or legs in an inverted pendulum fashion.[2] A feature of a running body from the viewpoint of spring-mass mechanics is that changes in kinetic and potential energy within a stride occur simultaneously, with energy storage accomplished by springy tendons and passive muscle elasticity.[3] The term running can refer to any of a variety of speeds ranging from jogging to sprinting.

Competitive running

Competitive running grew out of religious festivals in various areas. Records of competitive racing date back to the Tailteann Games in Ireland between 632 BCE and 1171 BCE,[4][5][6] while the first recorded Olympic Games took place in 776 BCE. Running has been described as the world's most accessible sport.[7]

Health and Cardiovascular benefits

Running in humans is associated with improved health and life expectancy.[8] While there exists the potential for injury while running (just as there is in any sport), there are many benefits. Some of these benefits include potential weight loss, improved cardiovascular and respiratory health (reducing the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases), improved cardiovascular fitness, reduced total blood cholesterol, strengthening of bones (and potentially increased bone density), possible strengthening of the immune system and an improved self-esteem and emotional state.[9] Running, like all forms of regular exercise, can effectively slow[10] or reverse[11] the effects of aging. Even people who have already experienced a heart attack are 20% less likely to develop serious heart problems if more engaged in running or any type of aerobic activity.[12]

Although an optimal amount of vigorous aerobic exercise such as running might bring benefits related to lower cardiovascular disease and life extension, though perhaps for some people an excessive dose (e.g., marathons) might have an opposite effect associated with cardiotoxicity.[13]

Mental health

Running can also have psychological benefits, as many participants in the sport report feeling an elated, euphoric state, often referred to as a "runner's high". Running is frequently recommended as therapy for people with clinical depression and people coping with addiction.[14] A possible benefit may be the enjoyment of nature and scenery, which also improves psychological well-being.

In animal models, running has been shown to increase the number of newly created neurons within the brain.[15] This finding could have significant implications in aging as well as learning and memory. A recent study published in Cell Metabolism has also linked running with improved memory and learning skills.[16]

Running is an effective way to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and tension. It helps people who struggle with seasonal affective disorder by running outside when it's sunny and warm. Running can improve mental alertness and also improves sleep, which is needed for good mental health. Both research and clinical experience have shown that exercise can be a treatment for serious depression and anxiety even some physicians prescribe exercise to most of their patients. Running can have a longer lasting effect than anti-depressants.[17]


  • Excerpted from Wikipedia Running page.


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