It seems like a cruel joke that New Year’s resolutions begin during the coldest time of year. Frigid temperatures often lead to lower motivation. But whether you’re starting from the couch or planning to conquer your first Blue Cross Broad Street Run, there are lots of reasons to power through winter and make running part of your routine for the new year.
Here are a few reasons to lace up and hit the pavement:
You’ll be more productive
Kids who exercise before heading to school come to class more ready to learn than those that save physical activity for after school finds new research in Preventative Medicine Reports. And the same goes for adults. Similar studies have shown that adults who pencil in a workout before heading to the office are more likely to stay energized throughout the day.
You’ll improve your health inside and out
Sure, running can aid in weight loss. After all, a 30-minute jog burns up to 300 calories depending on your intensity. But one health benefit you won’t see in the mirror is the slimming effect running has on your heart. Research from the American College of Sports Medicine found that distance runners, especially, were found to have a significantly lower amount of coronary plaque (dangerous buildup in your arteries that can lead to heart disease) than sedentary individuals.
You’ll sleep sounder
Trying to catch the National Sleep Foundation’s recommended eight hours of shut-eye can be tricky — especially if you live on a busy street, or worse, with restless cats. Here’s one more reason to get to bed earlier and set your alarm for an a.m. run: Running for 30 minutes in the morning can improve your sleep quality and overall mood throughout the day, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
You’ll ward off the winter weight gain
You already know you burn calories during a workout, but what you may not realize is that runners’ bodies keep burning calories even after they finish their cooldown lap. That’s because “afterburn,” or EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption), kicks in after high-intensity cardio workouts.
… and stress
Deadlines, tough winter commutes, tax season — January (and each month that follows) is full of stressful situations. Lacing up your sneakers for a walk or run is proven to help reduce and manage stress all year long. In fact, research shows even a short easy jog can help curb stress levels.
You’ll make new friends
Philadelphia can feel like a big, lonely city at times. But with neighborhood run clubs in each section, there’s an easy way to meet friendly faces that all share your affinity for brisk jogs and dodging hectic traffic patterns. Find yours in (and around) the city here.
You’ll improve your memory
Another year older doesn’t always mean another year wiser — unless, maybe, you’re a runner. Research published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review found that regular aerobic exercise helps combat age-related mental decline by improving memory, language, and judgment skills.
You’ll save money
Flurries might cause you to keep your runs short the first few months of your running routine but once the weather breaks, not only will you be able to soak up some rays along the trail, you’ll also have one of the most cost-efficient workouts in the city. Instead of dishing out money on a gym membership or class pass, try a free training app with daily running, stretching, and cross-training routines.