By Clara Santucci

Exercise Physiologist

I love to run. Who doesn’t? OK, I know… a lot of people. So why would you run if you didn’t love it?

There are plenty of exercises and programs out there to get you moving, sweating, toning up, bulking up, slimming down, or whatever you are looking for in an exercise program. But I’d like to give you just a few reasons why you might give running a go and how you could benefit from incorporating it into your routine.

  • Your heart. Running is really great for your heart. Distance running decreases your heart rate and blood pressure, along with a lot of other things that can improve your overall health. For example, my resting heart rate is about 43 beats per minute, and my blood pressure is approximately 106/64.
  • Convenience. It can be done anywhere, anytime, and in any weather. The world is your gym, and it’s an awesome one. The convenience of running and the benefits – even in just a short amount of time – are incredible. I’ve toured cities in just a couple hours and explored natural wonders, historic areas, and beautiful countries all on my own two feet. Running has given me fuller and richer experiences. It is always exciting to see what’s around the next corner.
  • Burn more, eat more. Running is an excellent way to burn calories. I love to eat. To fuel all the miles I run – about 120 per week! – I don’t think about what I shouldn’t eat, but what I should.
  • The people. Road races are great for running or just watching. You’ll see all different kinds of people, costumes, funny signs, food, and music. The road race is a form of street festival, really. Some are themed, a lot are for charity, and they are all doing something, on some level, that is good. One of the reasons I fell in love with road racing is because of its ability to converge people of all paths of life on one path for a few miles.
  • Stress relief. Running is great for lowering stress levels. During a morning run, I can organize my day, enjoy the beauty that surrounds me, or share a good conversation with a friend. When I am having a bad day, I can run out my frustrations. Whether alone or with a friend, you will feel a little better and more ready to take on anything that comes your way after a run.

These are a few reasons I love running and why I think you might like to try it, or get back to it if it’s been a while since your last run. Even if it isn’t your primary exercise, running can be part of a great fitness routine for the above reasons. So lace up and get moving!

WVU Medicine is proud to partner with Clara Santucci as she chases her dream of joining the U.S. Olympic Team in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For more information, visit