Hey fitties ! Wanted to share my favourite benefits of running and the reasons that got me into it. Hope you enjoy !
The Many Benefits
I can’t even begin to explain the countless benefits of running. But I’ll try it out anyway (in no particular order):
- Runner’s high. Probably my top reason to start running. At first, many people absolutely dread it. But don’t be afraid: the runner’s high definitely makes up for it all. You get to a point where you feel stronger and leaner, and are able to run farther every day. You build up your endurance and strength in your mind as well as your body. You begin to understand yourself better; with all the time you spend during your longer runs, you begin to make more of a spiritual connection with yourself. It’s truly a beautiful thing, and a huge motivator for me.
- You get to eat. A LOT. Need I say more ? Because running is one of the best calorie-burning exercises out there, (if not the best) it’s important to refuel before and after a run, no matter the pace or distance. And as many runners know, the more you run, the more you eat, (healthily of course). Win !
- It’s an incredible full body workout. If you’re short on time or resources, a quick run around the block is the perfect way to get in an entire body workout sans fancy equipment or an expensive gym membership. Running works the shoulders, lower back (posture), core, and legs of course. All you need in one amazing exercise !
- Running buddies. If you’re not keen on running solo, grab a buddy ! Whether it’s a close friend who’s also looking to get more active, a loved one who cares about their health just as much as you, or loyal (albeit hyper-active) pooch, having someone to run with has been shown to increase performance and mood during a run. No matter who it is, support and encouragement is always a wonderful motivator !
- “You” time. On the flip side, I’m more of an individual runner. Running is a great way to allow yourself to unwind and connect with nature. It’s not just some silly idea that colours look brighter, the sun feels warmer, and you feel so much more aware of your surroundings during a great run. And honestly, you’re doing so much for your health when you get out there, so every run can be a great one !
- Trails. Running anywhere is a great thing in itself, but I personally experienced my first runner’s high during my first ever trail run. I love feeling closer to nature and discovering my own endurance, and trails are the best way I achieve that. You don’t need music when you can listen to the dirt moving under your feet, hear the river rushing next to you, feel the wind moving through the trees. It’s incredibly moving and peaceful. I promise once you try it, it’ll be the only way you’ll want to run.
- Join the running community. I think running for a greater purpose is a huge inspiration for most runners out there. Being able to support your community or run a fundraiser for a special charity is such an amazing thing, it’s no wonder running is constantly increasing in popularity each year ! Plus.. medals right ? Everyone loves to show off a little gold.
Love To Run, Live To Run
You’ll find that after you get into your own groove of running, you experience changes in strength. Of course I’m not only speaking of the physical changes in lean muscle and fat loss, but mental changes as well. Running is an amazing way to boost brain function and health. Mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness, and running is one of the best ways to take care of your mind and spirit. Here are some amazing things it can do:
- Increase your energy. You’d think after your first time running, all your energy would be drained right ? While it’s true that you’ll feel it in places you didn’t know existed (not to discourage you), if you give it a minute, you’ll find your energy actually increases after a run. After your body has time to build its strength and power, you’ll notice even more energy gains after every session.
- Take care of your heart. Running just an hour every week improves cardiac health and decreases your risk of heart disease compared to non-runners. In a world where coronary heart disease and diabetes are becoming common occurrences, you won’t need any other excuse to lace up and get running.
- Improve self-esteem. Of course it’s no secret that increasing lean muscle by running decreases overall body fat percentage. This in itself can improve your self-image and greatly increase your confidence. But for me, running does even more than just that: it allows you to feel proud of your accomplishments. It helps you realize that you are strong not only physically, but mentally as well. You have the determination and drive to get out there every day and work hard to improve your health, and that is something worth noticing.
- Boost your memory. Because running/exercise is a fantastic way to keep your mind alert, areas such as memory naturally begin to improve. Running might also help reduce the mind’s risk of developing dementia and/or Alzheimer’s later in life.
- Improve skin’s appearance. With all that sweat you work up during an intense run, pores can be cleared of dirt and other toxins that might have otherwise caused skin problems. And bonus, sweating out any other unhealthy toxins helps your body naturally cleanse from the inside out.
- Build strong bones. Because running is an impact exercise (compared to resistance training for example), the muscles that low-impact workouts usually ignore are instead built even stronger, thereby increasing bone health even as they age.
- Live well. Something about seeing others out and exercising helps boost your mood. You see things differently, and begin to appreciate things more than you ever noticed before. These good feelings can contribute to a more positive, meaningful life, which has been known to add on a few years as well.
- Connect with your spirit. There is something special in a simple exercise that allows you to get more in tune with your spirit. Many people who don’t run probably can’t understand how you might be able to do that, with all the heart-pounding, lung-screaming agony that is usually associated with running. But that’s only the beginning. If you don’t allow yourself to push past it and redefine your limits, you’ll never be able to experience the beauty of running. It’s much more of a mental sport than a physical one. Running gives you time. It allows you to listen to your inner being, to hear your soul, to connect with your spirit. Running allows you to discover who you really are, because nothing is in your way. It’s just you and your mind.
Why I Run
As soon as I began running seriously, I loved it. It’s not always the case, but I suppose I’m just one of those crazies. Like many people out there, I found running at a time I needed to find myself. My first outdoor run (because if you run indoors, you’re not really running) took place on some hills by my house. Physically, yes it was a small sort of torture–lungs shredded, legs burning. But then I got to the top and I realized: up here, no one can touch me. Been hooked ever since. Running freed me from a very difficult time in my life, and it allowed me to find myself again. It showed me how strong I was and how willing I was to keep that strength. It allowed me to focus on my mind and spirit, and it truly saved me. Running has done so much for me, and I know I will forever be a runner.
You hear all the time that people are runners “for life”. Because honestly, people tend to “find” running at the most trying times of their lives. Running helps get them through it, as anything that you really love can do. There’s something about getting yourself out there, connecting with your mind, bringing positive energy into your life by doing something that you know will help you is so uplifting, and life-changing. Running allows people to find themselves, to achieve so much more than they knew they were capable of. Running is a way to conquer milestone after milestone, and to really see all the progress you put into it.
I think everyone should try running at least once. It’s not just about losing weight or winning medals. There is so much more to it than people realize. It’s such an incredible experience that once you begin it, you’re a lifetime member.
For more reading and my main resource, check out this greatist article here !