Most people know that getting 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week can ward off many diseases, reduce stress, and can keep you looking and feeling your best.

However, when it comes to the activities that people choose, running sometimes can fall short due to its reputation for being “hard” and causing aches and pains in the long term. But not so fast! Before you tuck away those running shoes and decide on a different exercise option, find out the nine wonderful benefits of running that might have never crossed your mind.

Also check out these 15 benefits of running that never crossed your mind

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1.- It makes you happier

Exercise, such as running, increases feel good hormones known as endocannabinoids, which improve your mood. This is why exercise can be prescribed as a great way to manage depression, anxiety, and stress.

Not only does running itself cause these great benefits but running outside in the natural sunlight can cause even more of an uplifted due to the body soaking up some Vitamin D, which also has anti-depressant properties (dont forget the sunscreen though!)

2.- It works your rear

Another great benefit of running is that it can give you a great booty. Studies have shown that running is better than walking when it comes to activating your glutes.

If you want even more of a lower body workout, head for the hills! The incline causes even more activation of the lower extremity, and the glutes, making it a great exercise to get that body looking strong and lean.

3.- It gives you a legal high

We’ve all heard that runners get what is known as a “runners high” and that’s because it’s true. When endorphins rise you generate the happy feeling, added to being outside and having heightened visual cues causes you to feel euphoric.

Running also decreases stress causing you to feel a sense of calm afterwards. So feel free to lace up those sneakers and chase that “high” that most runners are addicted to… this one is good for you!

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4.- It sharpens your brain

Cardiovascular exercises, like running, has been shown to help with neurogenisis, also known as the recreation of new brain cells. With the generation of new brain cells your brain will actually be able to function better, causing you to be better at concentrating on the tasks at hand.

Running has also been shown to benefit in increased memory, increased responsiveness, and increased proproriception of the muscles and nerves.

5.- It strengthens your joints

It has been long thought that running will damage your knees. But not so fast! Many studies have been done to conclude that running actually increases the strength of your knee joint. Just keep in mind to wear the proper shoes, stretch, and foam roll to keep all those surrounding muscles happy.

6.- It is Cheaper and Easier Than Joining A Gym

Sure your shoes and accessories might cost you a pretty penny, but overall running is cheaper than joining a gym. Running is also more convenient, especially for people who are traveling.

Your shoes can fit in any bag and you can look up trails or great places to run in any city you are in through various websites like mapmyrun and nikeplus, to name a few. (Keep in mind though adding some cross training into your running schedule to keep your muscles strong all over)

7.- It increases self-esteem

Not only will you most likely end up losing weight when beginning a running program, which will end up causing you to look better then feel better, but, you will feel accomplished as you log in those miles helping boost your confidence. Heading outdoors can boost this feeling of high self-esteem even more!

8.- It helps tap into your creative side

Studies have shown that a heart pumping run can help your brain tap into its creative side, especially when done outdoors. With more fresh air and oxygen pumping into the brain your mind will become clearer which can spark creativity.

Next time you have a big project, think it through, then go for a run and let the creative juices flow.

9.- It reduces your risk of cancer

Running, as well as the recommended amount of physical activity, has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer amongst adults. Running outdoors and getting Vitamin D has also shown to help reduce risks of cancer.

Not only that but if you have cancer running can help improve your spirits during this time and can help reduce the impact of the treatment by elevating your mood.

So whether you’re a running newbie, or a running veteran, everyone can soak up the benefits of lacing up your shoes and heading outdoors for a run!

Convinced of the benefits of running? Grab a full running program, designed by Scottish adventurer and record-breaking runner Shona Thomson.

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