Need a reason to run? Women’s Running has you covered! Take a look at some healthy hints and reasons to head out the door today!
Every runner knows that pounding the pavement clears the mind. But a new study suggests that endurance exercise can support brain function as well. Research led by Justin S. Rhodes, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois, found that running may counteract the brain decay associated with aging. Starting in our late 20s, adults begin to lose 1 percent of volume in the hippocampus, the area of the brain most related to memory, each year. Regular exercise may help to prevent hippocampus reduction while counteracting risks of the Alzheimer’s gene.
Sorry, runner dudes—you just got chicked. According to statistics collected by Running U.S.A., in 2011 women beat men’s race participation numbers for every distance but the marathon. In fact, nearly 60 percent of half marathon finishers were female. What makes these statistics even more shocking? The Amateur Athletic Association passed the official rule allowing women to run road races in 1972. In just 40 years, we’ve proven that girls can run the world.
Best in Show
Ever try to describe that euphoric post-run feeling to non-runner friends only to be greeted with puzzled looks? Fido understands! According to research conducted by the University of Arizona, dogs can experience runner’s high. The study found that after a four-legged jaunt, woman’s best friend produces endocannabinoids, the joy-inducing chemical produced by human and animals alike. So next time your puppy’s at the door with a leash in her mouth, know that you’ll not only be getting fit together— you’ll be getting happy, too.
Running shorts come with elastic waistbands for a reason! Women who exercise may have higher conception rates, according to research from the Boston University Department of Reproductive Epidemiology. The study found that women who worked out at a moderate effort more than five hours per week were 18 percent more likely to become pregnant than their inactive counterparts. If you’re longing for a little one, however, don’t schedule that speed work session just yet, researchers warn. Women who exercised vigorously had a 32 percent more difficult time conceiving, perhaps due to lower body fat percentages and irregular menstrual cycles.
Give Me a Beet!
Runners would do well to listen to the wise words of Janet Jackson. The so-called superfood for endurance athletes, beets may help you run longer and recover faster. A recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reported that the nitrates contained in beets helped improve endurance exercise performance. The high levels of antioxidants that lend the veggie its pretty hue may also fight cancer and reduce post-workout inflammation. Available year-round, beets are most nutritious when eaten raw. Try grating the red roots into a green salad for a fresh lunch.