by John Stanton
Running, at any age and any pace, can have a dramatic and positive effect on multiple areas of your life. Consider this my sales pitch for running.
Physical and Health Benefits
It is well known that running makes your body healthier, enhancing your overall fitness, wellness and longevity. Running improves endurance while building stronger muscles, bones and joints. Appropriately challenging your cardiovascular system will result in better heart health and a lower risk of many health problems. Running can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight, as it burns fat and raises your metabolic rate. Following a running program can also lead to making healthier food choices, as you begin to perceive yourself as an athlete who needs top-quality fuel.
Runners will tell you that it feels great to be fatigued after a challenging workout. They tend to sleep better at night and have more energy during the day. Nothing personal against running on a treadmill or indoor track, but one of the greatest perks of running is getting outside and feeling the fresh air in your lungs. The sensory experience of running outdoors—the sun, the breeze, the natural surroundings—is hard to beat.
A Psychological Boost
Running is self-care at its best. It relieves stress by providing a chance to get away from it all, to decompress, meditate, reflect and gain new perspective. A “runner’s high” can come in many forms—happiness, clear-headedness, mindfulness, and gratitude. Running frees the mind, cleanses the soul and helps you be present in the moment. The “me time” that running provides can also be useful for thinking through a tough problem or making plans for the future.
Running is a recognized and valued tool in the field of mental health. In general, it leaves people with a positive outlook; more specifically, it can help individuals cope with depression and anxiety. Running can be a way to take control of your life, creating a positive habit that naturally builds its own momentum. Working toward a specific goal, such as a race or a certain distance, gives you a sense of purpose. It is rewarding to push yourself and accomplish something new. Your self-esteem will rise as you feel yourself becoming stronger and running longer.
The Social Element
An important reminder about running: you don’t have to do it alone. By recruiting a running buddy or joining a running group, you’ll meet like-minded people who have the same aspirations (and possibly the same rookie questions) as you. The training programs and Run Club outings offered at your local Running Room provide positive peer pressure and camaraderie. You’ll meet new friends, have interesting conversations on the run, and enjoy a post-run beverage together. You’ll be welcomed into a community of enthusiastic people, resulting in special memories and funny stories from your experiences.
Some runners thrive on the competitive aspect of entering a race and receiving a finisher’s medal as tangible proof of their accomplishment. If you sign up for a charity event, you can also feel good about supporting a worthwhile cause. If you prefer, you can treat yourself to a well-earned massage or some new running gear as a reward for your efforts. Those who enjoy using technology or owning the latest gadgets may be excited to track their progress on a GPS watch or smartphone app.
If you’re not quite sold on the idea of running, drop in to one of our locations and talk to a Running Room team member. They will listen to you, answer your questions and make suggestions. If you give it a try, you stand to experience all the benefits I have described. What will be your reason to run?