Running in the fresh and cool air can be a very refreshing activity, ideal during the winter months.
While the health benefits of running are widely known, such as helping you build strong bones and strengthen your muscles, regular jogs can also decrease the signs of aging.
A study published in the European Heart Journal Researchers at the University of Leipzig in Germany evaluated the impact that different forms of exercise have on the human body, comparing the effects of resistance, HIIT and resistance training.
Over the course of six months, the team studied 266 healthy volunteers while participating in three trainings a week, each randomly assigning one of the three forms of exercise mentioned above or placing them in a control group.
All the participants were described as "previously inactive", thus creating a level playing field for the study.
Resistance training involved long runs, HIIT training was a warm-up followed by career intervals, and endurance training involved a variety of exercises such as sit-ups, chest pressures, and leg pulls.
The researchers analyzed the white blood cells of the participants at the beginning of the study, a few days after the study and then at the end of the six-month period.
The team observed a greater increase in telomerase activity and the length of telomeres in the white blood cells of the participants who did resistance training and HIIT compared to those who did resistance training or no exercise.
Telomeres are stretches of DNA that can be found at the end of chromosomes that affect the way humans age.
"Our main finding is that, compared to the start of the study and the control group, in volunteers who performed resistance training and high intensity, they increased the activity of telomerase and the length of telomeres, which are important for the cellular aging, the capacity for regeneration and, therefore, health, aging, "says Professor Ulrich Lauds, one of the authors of the study.
"Interestingly, resistance training did not exert these effects."
Dr. Christian Werner, co-author of the study, believes that the key to the team's findings may lie in the human heritage.
"From an evolutionary perspective, endurance and high-intensity training can mimic our ancestors' advantageous journey and fight-or-flight behavior better than strength training," he says.
While endurance training, such as running, can be beneficial to your health, it can also cause injuries to areas of the body such as the knee and the heel.
Knee pain is so common among runners that it is often called a runner's knee.
If you experience knee pain as a result of running, the NHS recommends resting for a week and then visiting a GP or physiotherapist if you do not see any improvement.