Anyone who knows me knows that running is a huge passion of mine – so it is about time I post about some of the reasons I chose to run. Many people have mentioned to me that they want to begin a running routine but lack the motivation to commit. So I have decided to cultivate a list of the reasons that I stay motivated to run, maybe they will spark your interest too.
Note: This list is entirely (and intentionally) biased – I love running, so naturally I have plenty of positive things to say about it. There are plenty of cons to choosing running as a sport as well, although there are at least some cons to just about everything in life. But please feel free to do your own research.
1) Running is one of the cheapest, most convenient forms of exercise
To get started with a running routine, all you need is a pair of decent running shoes. As long as you are physically well, you can run essentially anytime, anyplace. You can jog, steady run, or sprint depending on how you feel any particular day. You can basically step outside your front door and start running, no need to drive anywhere. Running is flexible; wherever you are in the world, it is nearly always possible to get out for a run – I have been known to get in a few runs on vacation, which leads me to the next reason ….
2) Running is a great way to explore new areas and to get outside and enjoy nature.
Unless you chose to run on a treadmill (which I typically shy away from), running is an excellent break to smell the roses if you will. Running provides a great opportunity to explore new cities or even new areas in your own city that may not be accessible by vehicle. The moment I start to feel bored with my regular routes, I make a point to try out a new or different trail and instantly fall in love again.
3) The notorious *runners high* – The perfect drug!
Many people feel confused by what the runners high actually is. To be honest, I didn’t get the feeling until about my 50th run, and it was a random four-mile or so long run. But once you have it, you know it, and your body begins to crave the feeling. The “runners high” is created by a spike in the release of endorphins, the body’s own happiness hormone, which leaves us feeling awake, happier, and less anxious. Endorphins are both stress and pain relieving, increasing your ability to focus and feel joy. I like to run first thing in the morning, and I’ve found that this feeling really pushes me through the day.
4) Running boosts overall mood, self-esteem, and confidence
Besides for the short-term runners high, studies show that in general runners are more patient, balanced, and optimistic than non-runners. As the body consistently releases endorphins through exercise, over time, runners experience an improved mental well-being. Running also boosts self-esteem and confidence by providing a feeling of empowerment and freedom that comes with knowing that your legs and body are strong and capable.
5) Running is one of the most basic activities to improve your physical health.
– Running is the most basic form of aerobic exercise, which improves your cardiovascular health. It raises good cholesterol, reduces the risk of blood clots, and encourages healthy lung functioning.
– Improves balance and motor skills by forcing the muscles and brain to communicate.
– Boosts immune health by creating a higher concentration of white blood cells.
– Helps with insomnia and encourages your body to rest.
– Running is one of the most effective forms of exercise for weight balance; and an excellent weight loss method. If you vary your workout, you will burn more calories and belly fat.
– Running is also great for improving strength. Each run works your muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons. Your legs become increasingly stronger to cope with shock when you hit the ground.
6) Running boosts creativity and intellectual curiosity.
If you are overloaded with work, a half-hour run will probably be a better investment than an hour of overtime or unhealthy, fattening energy drinks. Research suggests that your creativity and focus increase when you exercise. A quick jog charges the mental batteries up and gives new inspiration.
7) Running provides an opportunity to give back to the community.
Entry fees for local races such as 5ks, 10ks, etc, normally designate a portion to go to a donation to charity. Most races have specific charities they associate with, so do some internet research. Find a race that is coming to your area soon and then find out where the proceeds go to. This also provides motivation for training, if you learn about the charity and find that you feel a personal connection or appreciation.
8) Running gives you an opportunity to spend time with people.
If running becomes a hobby or passion for you, you will be amazed at the people you meet along the way. Most runners are very friendly and welcoming to new people in our community. There are tons of blogs, message boards, magazines, and people willing to offer advice. If you run trails, runners will normally waive and are genuinely happy to see you out. It comes up in conversation more than you think and runners always want to communicate with other runners. You can also use it as a time to catch up with friends if you run together – although I normally choose to run solo for the below reasons.
9) Running is a great time to meditate.
Intentionally clearing your mind will actually make you run better (because you’re not over-thinking every step) and you will feel more refreshed afterward. Meditation has proven well-being benefits but many people struggle with just sitting still and quietly for extended periods of time. With running you are in movement, but you can completely empty your mind and still reap the benefits meditation.
10) … Or a great time for prayer.
I often use the time I spend running to listen to upbeat worship songs that get my blood flowing. The run turns into a time of being thankful and truly praising God for all that’s around me. When I’m running, I feel more grateful for my health and strength, for nature, and for my journey. In these moments, I have learned that I am at a more objective place to present my anxieties to the Spirit from an honest place and listen wholeheartedly for His lessons and comfort.
- 7 Resources for New Runners – To Learn, Connect and Be Inspired (moveeatcreate.wordpress.com)