With the growing popularity of long distance races; marathons, ultra-endurance 100K plus ultra-races (100K, 170K, 300K, 400K, 1,000K…), double Ironman triathlons, not only the distances are increasing but the number of participants as well. With the more sedentary lifestyles, increase in worldwide obesity, maybe people are trying to find a way out to release high levels of stress, increase their fitness levels, or just find new physical and mental challenges. Training for extreme distances is one thing, physically it can have some negative long-term side effects, but focusing on more reasonable long-distance training and races can have several health benefits.
Healthier Body: Endurance training helps to create a stronger and healthier body. Training for hours, all the muscles, cardiovascular system, joints, bones and lungs, all have to adapt to sustain for hours. It also increases the metabolism, more lean muscle mass and even reduces the risk of certain diseases.
Clearer Mind: Overtraining can cause mental and physical fatigue, but training properly can help with cognitive function. Research also found that in older people, it helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Long-distance training improves the blood circulation throughout the whole body, and the brain benefits from that increase of blood flow.
Increases Mental Strength: When you move up to longer distance training, you realize that your body can do things you never thought was possible. You have to learn to push through pain and exhaustion, which brings you to a whole new level. Surprising yourself and manage to get passed your perceived limitations will increase your mental strength as well as your physical strength. Increasing our mental strength can help us through every aspect of life.
Natural Therapy: Regular exercise, especially running is an alternative to therapy sessions. Studies have shown that running and exercise works even better than antidepressants. Especially to be out in nature for hours of endurance training changes your mood, emotional and physical state. High levels of endorphins must have something to do with the natural therapy.
Better Sleep: After endurance training sessions, we usually experience a better quality of sleep, also the next morning we feel more refreshed and energized. Again, over-training can have reverse effects on our quality of sleep, so we have to make sure we train reasonably.
Higher Energy: Training for hours, through technical terrains, weather or sustaining hours of exercise, later on getting through a normal day at work feels easier. The body becomes more efficient, with higher levels of energy, so most endurance athletes tend to be much more time efficient.
Increases Human Growth Hormones: Long-distance training has been shown to increase the HGH, which helps with anti-aging, anaerobic exercise is also very beneficial for increasing the HGH, it is like a nice “Fountain of Youth”
Endurance Training= Better Quality of Life: After starting to train for longer distances, you will see a great improvement in your overall health, improved mental clarity, and strength, increased energy, better self-image, better sleep, live longer, feel younger and much happier!
Train Hard, Eat Right, and Feel Great!