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The Benefits of Running Outside

The Benefits of Running Outside

Mar 18, 2021

From Our Providers: Katie Schultes, MD

Katie Schultes, MD, is an emergency medicine physician at Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill. Dr. Schultes is also an avid runner. She shares why getting outside and going for a run or walk can bring major health benefits to your daily routine.


What are some of the benefits of running and walking over other types of exercise?

You burn more calories from running and walking than from a lot of the other exercise programs that you can work in. It shows that it decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease, I think by about 45 percent. Running also increases your HDL, which is one of your good cholesterols. It helps burn calories, it helps reduce fat and it reduces your risk of getting diabetes. Running also boosts your immunity so, especially during this pandemic, what better way to burn calories, but also boost your immunity to help prevent getting any types of infection or obviously COVID-19. Another benefit of running is it increases your serotonin levels, which helps increase your overall mood and running outside, you're exposing yourself to vitamin D and sunlight and help combat against depression. 

Any tips for non-runners?

There's no reason to not try to run and you don't have to start actually running, you can start by walking. I kind of live by the 10 percent rule, so if you're starting an exercise program you can increase you mileage or increase your time working out by 10 percent every week and then as you begin to walk you can start to do a hybrid of walking and running. And then as your body gets used to running and you feel good running then you can just continue adding mileage to your daily routine. I usually recommend warming up at home, so you work up a bit of a sweat before you go into the elements. If you are planning to run in cooler temperatures, your body does something called vasoconstriction, so your muscles are little bit more tighter, your joints are a little tighter. So warming up and then just kinda hitting the pavement. 

Obviously you're going to have some discomfort when you're starting a workout routine, but if you develop sharp pain, I usually recommend to stop, take a few days off and reevaluate before you enter back into that exercise regiment. If pain persists, I recommend following up with your physician. 

I think everyone should escape their Zoom meetings, put on a pair of shoes and get out there and try to run.

Topics: COVID-19