Wondering if you should start running as part of your workout routine? Here are four reasons to get out there.

1. It’s easy to go running 

Everyone can start running, because everyone knows how-- all you need is a good pair of running shoes. You may not have perfect form yet, but you instinctively know how to place one foot in front of the other and settle into a comfortable pace. 

2. There are big gains

The stair-stepper, bike and other pieces of gym equipment work you hard, but running is the best exercise for weight loss. Running also gives your heart a fantastic workout. The faster you run, the harder your heart works, and the stronger it gets. 

3. Your knees will thank you

Contrary to what you’ve heard, running doesn't wreck your joints. Osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis) occurs when joint-cushioning cartilage starts to break down. The biggest osteoarthritis risk factor besides age? Body weight. Though it's important to treat all running injuries and to replace your running shoes often, in the end, running will build your joints up, not tear them down. 

4. Your stress levels will be lower

Runners can provide tons of anecdotes about the stress-busting powers of their regular jog. Many people swear they work out all of their problems when they run, and there's research on exercise to back them up. Running is even used by mental health experts to help treat clinical depression and other psychological disorders such as drug and alcohol addiction.