When you think of exercise, one of the first images drawn up by your mind is usually either weight training, or more likely, hard running outdoors. It's remarkable how drained you feel merely visualizing the act of running, even though it's possibly the best form of exercise for anyone. Here's why:

Strengthens your core and joints, and boosts cardiovascular functions
Running, done right, exerts good strain on your body, building up and toning your core muscles, and of course, your legs. The positive effect it has on the strength and flexibility of your joints cannot be overstated, and you will reap the benefits as you maintain healthy joints even as you age. Running also boosts the effectiveness of blood circulation in your body, improving the functions of major organs, including your brain.

Improves ability to manage stress
The great physical exertion of running trains your body to handle stress and tough situations better. The weariness that it begets also makes you sleep more soundly, giving you the optimum rest you need. The stamina you build up translates into your daily activities, and as you cope better, your moods improve as well.

Stimulates your appetite while allowing you to manage your weight better
This is probably the best part about running. The vast amounts of energy you burn really whets your appetite, helping you to eat well to nourish your body effectively. The exercise also regulates your weight, so even though you might be eating to your heart's content, it's easy to keep your weight in with all the running.

All this aside, running is one of the simple joys of life. It helps you unwind easily, organize your thoughts and keep fit too. Who needs an expensive gym membership?