Retired U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Heber Alonzo Meraz reveals a number of the many health and other benefits of running.
A retired the United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant and former project coordinator for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program, keen marathon runner and Texas-native Heber Alonzo Meraz offers a closer look at his passion for the sport and reveals several of the many health and well-being benefits of taking up running.
“Not only is running one of the best ways to stay in shape, both physically and mentally, it’s also among the most convenient and affordable ways to exercise,” suggests Meraz, who’s currently based in Fairfield County, Connecticut.
Though simple, running has been shown to be chief among cardiovascular exercises and activities, benefiting almost every part of the human body, including blood pressure, heart health, lung function, joint strength, and muscle endurance.
“From a mental health perspective, running has also been demonstrated to make participants feel less stressed, calmer, and more able to enjoy a restful sleep at night,” reveals Meraz.
According to the keen marathon runner, unlike more strenuous, often gym-focused forms of exercise and keeping fit, running can be enjoyed by almost anyone, including distance running, sprinting, and jogging. “Almost anyone can enjoy the sport,” Meraz explains, “from gentle jogging to racing and marathon running, reflecting an activity which can truly be incorporated into essentially any healthy lifestyle, regardless of fitness levels, and perhaps even starting simply with regular, short, brisk walks around the local park.”
Further to the affordability, convenience, and positive effects upon general fitness and well-being, Meraz next turns his attention to the many other health and wider benefits of running. “For starters, it’s largely very straightforward,” he suggests, “and as long as proper form is maintained, there’s not much to learn in order to safely take up running.”
“Furthermore,” Meraz continues, “in addition to improving joint strength, muscle endurance, heart health, lung function, and lowering blood pressure, it’s a great way to either lose weight or to maintain a healthy weight in the long term.”
Running, Meraz goes on to explain, also boosts serotonin levels in the brain, providing feelings of wellness and well-being above and beyond simple, physical health, and in addition to improving bodily functions, such as those tied to the heart and lungs. “The sport has also been shown,” he adds, “to strengthen bones, which becomes increasingly important as we age, and can help to prevent against problems in this area later in life.”
Lastly, Meraz touches on the social aspect of running. “Find a running partner, and not only can it become something of social activity, but you’re also encouraging someone else to improve their health and well-being while doing the same for yourself.”
“What’s more,” he adds, wrapping up, “with a regular running buddy, you’re able to provide motivation for one another, making it easier to stay on track and helping both of you to reach your fitness goals together, and in no time at all.”
Heber Alonzo Meraz is set to run the Hartford Marathon later this year. To be held in and around the oasis of Bushnell Park in the heart of the city of Hartford, Connecticut, this October, for more information, head to https://www.hartfordmarathon.com/.