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9 Surprising Ways Running Outside Is Good For You

Sure, we all know that running gets your blood pumping and your heart rate going. But did you know that running can also have positive effects, such as sharpening your hearing and increasing brainpower? Read on to find out nine unexpected ways that running benefits your whole body.

It Helps Produce Cartilage
Ignore the naysayers—running isn't necessarily bad for your knees. Research from Australia's Monash University suggests that the impact of running can increase cartilage production, which can safeguard your joints from arthritis.

It Sharpens Hearing
A study of women from Bellarmine University found that very fit females were six percent more likely to have better hearing than less-fit women. Exercise improves circulation to the ear, which provides a greater supply of nutrients to help preserve hearing.

It Saves Your Skin
Rutgers researchers found that mice who drank caffeinated water and then ran had fewer skin-cancer tumors than rodents who either just got caffeine or just ran. The caffeine-exercise combo caused fewer damaged cells to develop.

It Beats Migraines
Put down the painkillers. A study conducted at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden found that migraine sufferers experiences fewer head pounders when they worked out for 40 minutes three times a week over three months.

It Regenerates Muscle
Muscle mass declines over time—or does it? University of Illinois researchers found that exercise triggers a type of stem cell (mesenchymal stem cells) to spur other cells to generate new muscle. That process could prevent age-related muscle loss.

It Eases Anxiety
Feeling panicky about an upcoming work presentation? Go for a run. Researchers from Southern Methodist University near Dallas found that people had significantly milder reactions to stress if they engaged in regular intense aerobic exercise.

It Prevents Cancer
Finnish researchers studied 2,560 middle-aged men over the course of 17 years and found that the most active men were the least likely to die from cancer, especially in the gastrointestinal tract or lungs. The more intense the exercise, the better.

It Increases Brainpower
To see how exercise stacks up against other mental stimulants, University of Illinois researchers exposed mice to three types of brain boosters—savory foods, new toys, and exercise wheels. The wheel was the only tool that improved cognitive function.

It Strengthens Bones
Weight-bearing exercise increases bone density, which guards against fractures and osteoporosis, according to researchers from the University of Missouri. High-impact exercise, like running, appears to offer the greatest protective benefit.

This article originally appeared on Runner's World.

Author: Kit Fox

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