If you want to get rid of those extra pounds around your waistline, then you should consider adding some cardio into your workout regimen.
Running builds muscle mass in your legs, helping you burn calories and tone your body. But will running help you to build up your calf muscles and improve your definition?
We took a closer look at all you need to know about the benefits of running, and how it can change your body.
What Are The Benefits Of Running?
Before we take a closer look at the advantages that running can have for your calves, it is worth taking a moment to consider the benefits of running more generally. Some of the main advantages of running include:
When you run, you are burning fat as well as carbohydrates. This means that when you exercise, you’re not only losing weight but also toning your body.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
By increasing your heart rate, running improves your cardiovascular health. It helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which is great news if you suffer from any of these conditions.
Improves Muscular Strength
Running strengthens your leg muscles, making them stronger than they would be without regular exercise. By strengthening your legs, you can reduce the risk of injury while playing sports or doing other physical activities.
Increases Bone Density
If you don’t already do so, start running regularly. Research has shown that runners tend to have higher bone density than non-runners.
This means that you may be less likely to break bones as you age, and can also reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a condition where your bones become weak and brittle. As such, it’s important to maintain strong bones throughout life.
One way to do this is by getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D. However, research suggests that running can help to prevent osteoporosis.
Reduces Risk Of Diabetes
If you’ve got diabetes, running can help to control your sugar levels. Regularly exercising boosts insulin production, which makes it easier for your body to regulate its glucose levels.
How Does Running Help Your Calf Muscles?
Now that you know what running does for your overall fitness, let’s take a closer look at how it can benefit your legs in general, and your calves in particular.
As you may expect, a great deal of the power used when running comes from the legs – these are the largest muscles in the human body.
When you run, your legs work hard to propel you forward. In fact, your legs account for 40-50% of the energy you use during a typical run and offer the most strength and power.
The muscles in your legs are made up of two types of tissue: skeletal and smooth. Skeletal muscle is firm and dense, meaning that it doesn’t stretch easily.
Smooth muscle is soft and pliable and stretches easily.
The muscles in your calves are mostly made up of smooth muscle. Because of this, they are very flexible and easy to stretch.
As such, running provides an excellent opportunity to strengthen your calves.
Your calves also contain a number of ligaments, tendons, and nerves. These connect your muscles with your bones, allowing your feet to move freely.
If you want to improve your calf flexibility, then running will provide the perfect environment for this.
What Are The Benefits Of Running For Your Calf Muscles And Joints?
There are many reasons why running can be beneficial for your calves. Here are some of the main ones:
Strengthens Your Legs
Because your legs make up such a large part of your total body mass, they need to be strong and powerful. Running builds muscle mass, which increases their size and strength.
Builds Stronger Bones
Just like your legs, your bones need to be strong and sturdy.
Running helps to build strong bones because it forces your body to use more oxygen, which in turn causes your muscles to produce more red blood cells.
This results in better circulation, which is essential for healthy bones.
Research shows that runners tend to have stronger bones than those who aren’t active, and this is particularly noticeable in the legs.
This is due to the increased bone density caused by regular exercise.
Running improves your flexibility by stretching out your muscles and joints. It also strengthens them, making them more resilient.
As a result, you’ll find that your calves feel much looser after a good workout.
When you run, you increase the amount of blood flowing through your veins. This means that your entire body receives more oxygen, nutrients, and waste products.
This allows your muscles to function properly and prevents them from becoming tired or sore.
Increases Muscle Mass
One of the best things about running is that it gives you plenty of opportunities to get fit. You don’t just burn calories while you’re doing it; you actually gain weight as well!
This is because running stimulates your metabolism, which burns fat at a faster rate.
How Else Can I Build Calves?
If you’d rather not go for a run, there are other ways to build your calves. Some people prefer to do leg raises instead.
Leg raises involve raising one leg straight up into the air, holding it there for several seconds, before lowering it back down again.
You can also perform calf raises using a chair. Simply sit on a chair, raise your foot off the ground, hold it there for a few seconds, and lower it back down again.
This should help to work your calves without putting too much strain on your knees.
Another way to build your calves is to lie on your stomach and lift your heels off the floor. Hold this position for a couple of minutes, and repeat this process every day – you will soon see tangible results.
A personal trainer may be able to offer advice on how to build your calves.
They can show you exercises that you can perform at home, and give you tips on how to improve your technique, as well as tailoring a training program specific to your needs.
They will also be able to monitor your progress, so you won’t have to worry about overdoing it.
Building your calves doesn’t take long. In fact, it only takes a few weeks of consistent training to start seeing improvements.
If you want to build your calves quickly, then try performing calf raises regularly, and try to add a run to your routine – you will see results in no time!