No, running is not everyone’s favorite form of exercise. The mindless jarring forward with little-to-no reprieve can last fifteen, twenty or thirty minutes before a solid, worthwhile distance run is knocked out for the day. By the end, you’re out of breath, sweaty and, if you don’t eat quickly, feeling pretty weak. The exercise is often put off in favor of throwing weights around the gym, or simply just collapsing on the couch. “When am I ever going to need to run for fifteen minutes straight?” That’s the usual argument from those who tend to enjoy lifting more, as if they are going to need to lift 300 lbs off their chest someday.

Like any PT, the health benefits are apparent. It’s the one form of exercise that’s present in virtually every form of professional physical activity — football players, boxers, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, firefighters, police officers — despite their unique job-specific workouts, they’re all either required or strongly encouraged to run. It is also a popular stress reliever among the non-physical job population, not to mention all the avid runners out there who just like doing it.

The obvious answer is that running (well, cardio) is good for the heart. The biggest killer in the United States is one you don’t tend to hear on the news so much: heart disease. According to The American Heart Association, “Cardiovascular disease, listed as the underlying cause of death, accounts for nearly 836,546 deaths in the US. That’s about 1 of every 3 deaths in the US.” It kills more people than cancer or car accidents and certainly more than terrorism or homicide.

One of the best ways to combat heart disease is aerobic exercise — running is an easy choice, since you don’t need any equipment, and you don’t need a pool or a track. Most people can walk right out their door, or at least go on a five minute drive, and begin to run (so long as the joints allow it). This helps blood pressure, cholesterol and prevents weight gain, leading to a longer life.