If you’ve ever performed a cardiovascular exercise before, there’s a strong chance that you’ll have done a spot of jogging or running in your time.
Today, however, we’re going to be looking at the benefits of sprinting.
Sprinting is a high-intensity form of physical exercise.
We could get all technical and start talking about VO2 max rates, musculoskeletal systems, fast-twitch muscle fibers, and so on, and later on in this article that’s exactly what we’ll do.
For now, though, we’ll keep our intro nice and basic and will basically describe sprinting as running as fast as you possibly can.
Whilst it’s unlikely that you’ll get anywhere close to Usain Bolt’s World Records for the 100 meters and 200 meters sprint, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t lace up your running shoes and take up sprinting as a way of exercising, burning fat, getting in shape, and having fun in the process.
Sprinting is very beneficial, and to prove it here’s a look at 11 surprising benefits of doing sprinting for you to consider.
A Brief History of Competitive Sprinting
We won’t insult your intelligence by sitting here today and talking about the history of sprinting in general because in truth we’ve no idea how long man has been sprinting.
What we will say, however, is that sprinting is a natural fight or flight reaction, in this case, a flight reaction, whereby we run away from threats or what we perceive to be threats.
So, whenever the first human being was chased by something, or even if they were chasing after something, I.E an animal to eat, that will be the first instance of sprinting.
Competitive sprinting, however, is very different.
Arguably the most popular event at the Olympics in the 100-meter sprint, despite the fact it’s over in roughly ten seconds, or slightly less if your second name is Bolt.
It’s hardly surprising really, as running has been a staple part of the Olympic games since its conception all those years ago.
Back then it was known as ‘Stadion’ and it was the only event in the games.
Stadion can be traced back to 724BC.
The very first winner of the Stadion race was ‘Coroebus of Elis’.
The race was named after the venue in which it was hosted.
The concept was very basic as you might expect: Simply run the entire length of the stadium, which happened to be 180m in total.
Back in 1896, the Olympic Games we know and love today first began, and the 100-meter sprint or “dash” was again a staple event.
Since then, although training principles, equipment, facilities, clothing, athletes, supplements, and nutrition have all evolved in sprinting, the concept is still the same: Run 100-meters (or 200, etc) as fast as you possibly can, and run faster than your opponents.
11 Surprising Benefits Of Sprinting
Now it’s time for us to take a look at 11 surprising benefits.
Sprinting is an incredibly physically demanding activity, but if you do it regularly, it also happens to be extremely rewarding.
Take a look at these sprinting benefits and you’ll know precisely what we mean.
1. Lose Fat
This is one of the benefits that isn’t really all that surprising, but what the heck, we’re going to include it anyway.
If you’re looking for a good reason to take up sprinting, how about the fact that doing so will help you to melt away body fat like it’s going out of fashion?
Sprinting is a high-intensity form of exercise that is very adaptable and will do wonders for your waistline if you implement it correctly into your fat loss regime.
When you sprint, you’re obviously burning calories because it’s so tough.
Calories burned off mean that you find it easier to create a caloric deficit, which means that you’ll find it easier to lose weight.
If implemented as part of a HIIT workout, you’ll enjoy a temporary increase in your metabolism for several hours after you finish training.
This brings us to…
2. Very Adaptable
So far when talking about sprinting, we’ve focussed on competitive sprinting as you find in the 100-meter race at the Olympics.
It turns out that there are a number of things you can do to help implement sprinting into your training regime.
You can do hill sprints, Tabata, or even HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) which is all the rage right now.
The more ways you have of implementing HIIT into your training regime, the more benefits you will enjoy.
3. Generate Explosive Leg Power
Yes, sprinting is predominantly a cardiovascular-based form of training, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t allow you to build muscle in the process.
Another awesome benefit of performing sprints on a regular basis is the fact that doing so will enable you to increase explosive power in the legs.
This is because sprinting is a form of explosive movement that recruits and targets multiple fast-twitch muscle fibers when you perform it.
Fast-twitch muscle fibers are responsible for explosive power.
This will not only help you to run faster, but it will also enable you to generate more leg drive when performing free weight barbell complexes like standing military presses.
4. Strengthen Your Bones
Yes, it is in fact possible to strengthen your bones and add mass to them thanks to exercise, which means that technically, there is such a thing as being ‘big-boned’, but don’t use that as an excuse not to train!
This is very much an example of one of many surprising benefits that we’re going to be listing today.
Sprinting is a weight-bearing exercise as you are bearing the weight of your own body when you perform the movement.
Weight-baring exercises work wonders for your skeletal system as the movement causes cells in your bones to expand and become stronger, which in turn makes the bones stronger and bigger.
Strong bones are very important, especially later on in life, so it’s best to start sprinting sooner, rather than later.
5. Improve Your Endurance
Sprinting is not an endurance event.
It is literally the opposite of that.
Whereas endurance events such as marathons can last several hours, sprinting races last literally seconds.
However, that does not mean that you can’t improve your endurance by performing sprinting workouts on a regular basis.
You see, sprinting strengthens your heart and boosts circulation.
This, in turn, increases oxygen transportation.
If your cells are receiving more oxygen via the bloodstream, this means that they’re receiving more energy.
This will enable you to exercise for longer durations of time before fatigue sets in.
This is why many endurance athletes perform HIIT-based workouts as part of their training.
6. Great For The Heart
We’ve just mentioned how sprinting is beneficial for the heart, but now, if we may, we’d like to expand upon this because it’s so important.
If you’re looking to get more from your workouts as far as cardiovascular health is concerned, be sure to look into sprinting.
Your heart is a muscle, and like any other muscle, it responds to physical exertion in a generally positive way.
By that, we mean that it becomes bigger and stronger.
Cardiovascular exercise such as sprinting helps to strengthen the heart, which in turn will improve circulation, will help reduce blood pressure, and will significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, blocked arteries, and plenty more besides.
As heart disease claims more lives each year than any other condition, the importance of looking after your heart is more obvious than ever.
7. Improved Mental Health
While this benefit isn’t exclusively associated with sprinting, it is a benefit associated with exercise in general.
As mental health is such an important topic, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include this next benefit of sprinting in our article today.
Sprinting is very beneficial for the brain as it helps to promote the secretion of endorphins, which are chemicals released by the brain which help elevate the mood, reduce stress, improve cognitive thinking, promote sleep, promote relaxation, and keep stress at bay.
This is why exercise is such an important part of any mental health-boosting regime, and it is why so many people prefer to exercise for improving their state of mind instead of drugs created in a lab that doctors are so quick to prescribe.
8. Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
You see, high-intensity exercise such as sprinting will help to improve insulin utilization and action within the body.
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that is responsible for shuttling sugar out of the bloodstream and into the nuclei of your cells.
The more sugar you get into your cells and the more efficient insulin becomes, the less likely you will be to suffer from diabetes and other similar conditions.
9. Increased VO2 Max
Sprinting isn’t just good for your aesthetics, your heart, and your brain, oh no.
It turns out that sprinting is also great for your lungs too.
If you regularly perform sprints as part of your training regime, you’ll notice that your lung capacity increases dramatically.
This is due to the fact that they will become more effective at absorbing and utilizing oxygen when you exercise.
This is known as your VO2 Max.
This is important because it means that your lungs will be able to produce more oxygen, which in turn will be absorbed by your red blood cells and transported around your body to your awaiting cells.
The more oxygen they absorb, the more energy you will have and the greater your athletic performance will become as a result.
10. Nothing Fancy
Another of the great benefits that we’ll be looking at today is the fact that sprinting is nothing fancy, which means that you can do it virtually anywhere.
You don’t need a fancy gym with the latest gadgets to perform a sprinting workout. In fact, you don’t need a gym at all.
You simply need an open space on an even surface.
Whether you choose to run at your local athletics track, your local park, or even around the block, you don’t need anything fancy to get an awesome sprinting workout in.
In this day and age, we think that’s just awesome.
11. Boost Your Metabolism
This next benefit is a little controversial, and the jury is still out on whether or not it’s actually a genuine benefit or not.
So far, however, the research is looking promising so here it is.
When you perform a high-intensity exercise such as sprinting, you’ll find that temporarily after you’ve finished the workout, your metabolism remains elevated for several hours.
This is a proven fact and it is known as the ‘afterburn effect’.
However, the controversy comes next.
Some people claim that after you’ve increased your metabolism temporarily, once the afterburn effect wears off, it will return back to normal.
Others claim that regular high-intensity workouts can permanently increase metabolism slightly.
As we mentioned, however, the jury is still out on this one, so don’t take our word for it just yet.
And with that, we shall bring this list of surprising benefits of sprinting to a close.
We hope you’ve found the info contained within exciting and engaging, and we hope that you’ve been inspired to switch up your cardio slightly and to try your hand at sprinting.
While we doubt you’ll beat Usain Bolt’s records, you’ll still burn fat, have fun, and enjoy many of the other benefits listed above, so it’s a win-win for all of us.