You might want to choose running over other forms of exercise, and here’s why. Running will keep you in shape, no doubt, and it won’t cost you a dime—you don’t even need a trainer for that. This makes it a better exercise, according to experts, but depending on the goal, adding swimming, yoga, or aerobics is also recommended. Getting started Miguel Clement Mutali, a trained fitness instructor and sports therapist working at Kigali Marriott Hotel, says for beginners, running every other day for 20 to 30 minutes should be considered, preferably in the morning. Mutali says in general, running burns more calories than other form of movement exercise like cycling because it uses more muscle. “When you get used to running, it helps tone your muscles as it works your whole body and burns more calories. If you need to lose weight, adding some weight training and potentially changing your diet can work magic,” he says. Nelson Mukasa, a fitness trainer, says when you start running as a form of exercise, it helps you avoid an inactive lifestyle, which is mostly associated with higher mortality, coronary artery disease, and hypertension among other issues. He says that regular physical activity such as running can significantly improve mental health, self-confidence, boost healthy ageing, and quality of life. Mukasa says running has been proven to be a weight-bearing exercise and, therefore, strengthens the musculoskeletal system. In addition, running improves joint stability. Just like walking and jogging, Mukasa says running is considered an efficient way to lose fat and manage a healthy weight. He points out that the major difference between running, jogging, and brisk walking is the intensity. “Running tends to increase your heart rate and improves circulation. Increased aerobic capacity keeps you fit and eases daily activities such as climbing a long flight of stairs,” he says. Mutali says running improves the health of your heart and reduces risks of cardiovascular problems like angina (a type of chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart), heart attacks, and high blood pressure. Running, Mukasa says, releases endorphins in your brain and these are chemicals that enhance mood. Endorphins also naturally help relieve stress. Since running increases the release of endorphins, it improves sleep, raises self-esteem, and keeps you in a good mood. The aerobic benefits of running can help fight feelings of anger, frustration, and stress. This relaxes your mind and is greatly beneficial, especially on a particularly stressful day.