Run your butt off
Run your butt off

Now the sun is rising earlier and the days are warming up, it's time to take advantage of the gorgeous mornings by lacing up. Your body and your health will thank you.

In the past six years, the number of Australians jogging and running has almost doubled, reports the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Running has a positive impact on both your physical and mental health, according to exercise and Sports Science Australia spokesperson Vanessa Rice.

"Physical benefits can include reducing or controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels," she explains.

"It can help with insulin and glucose levels as related to the prevention and/or management of diabetes."

Ms Rice says each run also releases feel-good hormones known as endorphins, which can help with depression and anxiety and can lift your mood.

Running can also help you shed those unwanted kilos, by boosting the number of calories you burn, and women who run generally notice changes in the muscle tone of some of the most common problem areas.

"The most likely areas to see change in physique from running are the legs - calf muscles, quadriceps and hamstrings - and around the hips through strengthening of the leg muscles thus toning up," Ms Rice says.

Sheree Webb, 33, began running after seeing how much weight a good friend had lost after taking up the sport.

"I started very slow with small runs of one kilometre," she says.

Ms Webb found running much easier with beautiful scenery, so she began running around the picturesque Lake Monger.

"I then ventured on to the bridges of South Perth towards Burswood and then around to East Perth, building up to seven to 10km in one session. I felt great. I had a clear mind, de-stressed from a day in the office, my breathing got easier, I felt light on my feet and happy about my new accomplishments."

This year Ms Webb tackled a 12km fun run and just completed her very first Neon Run.

The West Australian

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