Running for Health: Will I Feel Better?

Running for health — sustained aerobic activity of any kind really — improves your mental and emotional health as well as your physical health.

| September/October 1978

Nine years ago Ken Cooper, M.D., first published Aerobics, a book dealing with a particular physical exercise program designed to strengthen the heart, lungs, and circulatory system. A fitness program, if you will, that works you hard but always in the presence of free oxygen (without making you feel "out of breath"). Naturally that was appealing!

Since that book (and two other equally successful volumes, Aerobics for Women and The New Aerobics) hit the stands, some sixty million Americans have taken to running for health, and also cycling, walking, jumping rope, and swimming. The death rate from heart disease has decreased ten percent. And the typical American (whoever that might be) has increased his or her life span from 70.9 to 72.0 years.

Important statistics, but still statistics. This short excerpt from The Aerobics Way by Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., MPH. (copyright © 1977 by Kenneth H. Cooper and reprinted by permission of the publisher, M. Evans and Co., Inc.) turns those statistics into something that most of us can more readily understand by dealing not so much with the number of our years but how we use 'em!

A patient asked me this question not long ago, and followed it up with, "Will l feel better?"

For a moment I was going to say, "What do you mean? Of course you'll feel better!" But then I saw his point.

He wasn't talking about feelings in his body.

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