So why should I start running? Here are the 10 Best Reasons:
|A photo by Dave Fawkner at the start of one of our 5k club races|
You know you should. Your doctor, your spouse, and all your friends are behind you. It'll improve your quality of life, prevent heart disease, and stabilize your mood. But no matter how you psyche yourself out, you just can't seem to get off the couch to run. What to do?
Here's the good news: starting is the hardest part. If you can get your feet to move a few steps, you'll be on your way. Here's why you ought to start running right after you finish this article.
1. The Physical Benefits
Well, this one is a bit of a no-brainer. It still bears mentioning because new runners are constantly floored by what happens to their bodies when they commit to fitness. Running is just wonderful for your physical health.
No matter what your natural body shape is, running can bring out the best in it. You’ll feel better and more confident in your skin. If you want to lose some excess weight, this is a great way to do it. It’s also a great way to tune up your entire cardiovascular system, fend off heart disease, make your legs look awesome, and so much more. But those benefits pale in comparison to our next point.
2. Your Mental and Emotional Health
Did you know that a good run can alleviate depression and improve your entire outlook on life? I couldn’t make this up if I tried: running is like taking Prozac without the side effects. Physical exercise prompts your body to pump out endorphins, which are chemicals that tells your brain that it’s doing good. If you have depression, then these counteract the chemicals that tell your brain that it’s doing bad. With regular runs, the good guys win, and you’re all the better for it.
|This is our team at Equinox 24 2014 - we'd never met before ...!|
3. Meet New People
Runners are the most social people in the world. Whether you’re a new runner or experienced, you’ll almost always get a head nod or a smile from a fellow jogger as you cross paths. Serendipitous crosswalk stops have made many runners fast friends.
This camaraderie is partially because everyone is eager to talk about their routine, but mostly because runners are eager to listen to potential tips and tricks from others. You’ll never get more encouragement than when you lace up your running shoes.
4. Spend Quality Time With Your Dog
Dogs can run all day. Not only do they love it, but they tend to suffer from health problems when they sit around an apartment all day long. Just like people, they need to move around. Most dogs are default rompers with great attitudes about adventure, especially if that adventure involves being with their favorite person. If Mom or Dad is jogging, they just can’t wait to get on the road too.
5. You Love to Eat
There is nothing wrong whatsoever with enjoying a nice croissant. I’m French. You don’t have to tell me that food is delicious. You should be able to eat how you’d like and enjoy your meals. Running is a way to prevent yourself from getting overweight as a result of your indulgence.
It’s also a fine method of preventing yourself from worrying about gaining weight. Let’s be honest: you look great, and you’d look great no matter how much you weighed. But if you’re worrying about every calorie and bite of food, you’ll never be able to relax and enjoy the pleasure of fine cuisine. Run regularly and you’ll be able to let go of that fear.
6. Save Money on Gym Fees
Gyms are great. I love gyms. I can catch up on some TV, stay out of the weather, read a book, and take a shower immediately afterward. But, as I see it, there are two things wrong with gyms. First, they give you nothing that you can’t give yourself by jogging three times a week. Second, they are awfully expensive for what they give you.
Unless you’re a professional athlete training for the Olympics, you’re probably not using the gym to its full potential. You’re losing money and it’s not necessary. Run instead and spend the difference on something that matters to you.
7. Lengthen Your Life (and Your Quality of Life)
As I mentioned before, running vastly improves your cardiovascular health. That means that it enhances the health of your heart and blood vessels. A healthy heart means that the likelihood of heart disease limiting your lifespan is dramatically reduced.
But everyone knows that. What a lot of people don’t know is that regular exercise has also been linked to a lower incidence of degenerative, age-related mental disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease. Your body and your mind will just last longer if you do this one simple thing. At this point, you have to wonder why you wouldn’t run.
8. You were made to do it
What do you think is the greatest human evolutionary advantage? Is it our big brains? Our reversible thumbs? Try this: the reason that human beings are so successful as a species is that we are excellent long-distance runners.
It’s true. A strong theory of human evolution states that early humans, while not necessarily as fast as a cheetah, were so much more capable of steadily running for miles that they were able to tire out bigger prey and evade predators whose energy naturally came in bursts. You may feel like running is hard now, but once your body snaps into its groove, you’ll find that there are a couple million years of evolution behind you.
|At the end of Stour Valley Marathon 2014|
9. You Really Can Do It All Year
Once the snow starts to fall, (or, depending on where you are in the world, once the rain starts) you can still indulge your running habit. Treadmills are a great investment in your health and a fine way to keep running when nature doesn’t oblige. Remember, when you run, you’re healthier, and when you’re healthier, you save money on doctors’ bills. When I say that treadmills are a great investment, I mean that quite literally. They will pay you back tenfold. Absent a treadmill, look for indoor tracks and arenas where runners are welcome.
If you do run outside in cold weather, you’ll find that you stay warm quite naturally while you’re moving. You may even come to prefer running in the cold: the cooler temperatures can feel good when you’re sweating.
10. Sleep Like a Baby
If you have any kind of sleep problem, then pay extra attention to this point. Running makes you sleep better, deeper, and more dreamlessly. If you wake often in the night, especially after intense or troubling dreams, then running could be a natural, healthy alternative to prescription sleep aids.
Remember how running helps your mental health, too? Some of that mental boost trickles down to your sleep habits. If you’re a runner, your brain is less likely to be anxious. In turn, anxiety is less likely to keep you up all night. It’s a winner all around.
Don’t be fooled: running isn’t easy to start. It’s going to take perseverance and work, and it won’t always be fun. In fact, in the beginning, it’s going to be a pretty significant challenge. But once you reach a point in your physical fitness where you can glide down the road with a minimum of effort, you’ll know why so many people love to run. When you feel your everyday tasks becoming easier, your stamina increasing, and your physical fitness improving, you’ll know that it’s all because of your hard work. So what are you waiting for? Get up off that couch and start running today.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you want to hear more from Emily, head over to WIMI Sports & Fitness at www.WIMI-fitness.com