Millions of people already choose running as their preferred form of exercise, owed to a vast array of mental and physical health benefits, but new research has added more reasons to lace up your sneakers. In addition to burning fat, lowering stress, and improving stamina, running has now been linked with stronger bones and an improved immune system.

In the new study, carried out by the Sean Morrison Laboratory at UT Southwestern, a team of scientists identified that forces generated by walking or running are transmitted to bone forming cells. Researchers found that a signal is passed along the arteriolar blood vessels and is directed to the marrow, inside the bones. This facilitates new bone to form and thicken.

Additionally, the bone-forming cells release growth factors that results in more B and T cells, boosting your ability to fight off infection. It appears that bone-forming cells sense the pressure caused by body movements (also known as mechanical forces), and this leads to the positive effects.