For the ♥ of running
“That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So, I ran to the end of the road, and when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured since I’d run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason, I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured since I’ve gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going. When I got tired, I slept. When I got hungry, I ate. When I had to go, you know, I went. My mama always said you got to put the past behind you before you can move on. And I think that’s what my running was all about. I had run for three years, two months, 14 days, and 16 hours.” -Forrest Gump
Yes, I love to run. For me, there is nothing else that makes me feel like running does. It lowers my stress and puts life in perspective. Running challenges me unlike anything else (except yoga!). And, to top it all off, it makes my legs look great 🙂 Most people either love to run or hate it. For some, it is a love/hate relationship. It’s painful and exhausting, but the benefits keep them coming back for more.
The Health Benefits of Running
- Weight loss-many people start running to lose weight. Running is one of the top activities for burning fat. In fact, with the exception of cross country skiing, running burns more calories per minute than any other form of cardiovascular exercise.
- Prevent muscle and bone loss- Our bones are made to accommodate the demands placed upon them. By running regularly, our skeleton gets the demand it needs to stay healthy.
- Fight disease-Running reduces the risk of stroke and breast cancer. Regular running has become a treatment option for doctors to prescribe to patients who are at high risk, or early stages, of osteoporosis, diabetes, and hypertension. It reduces the risk of heart attacks, by strengthening the heart and lowering blood pressure. Running maintains the elasticity of arteries quite well because, as you run, your arteries expand and contract nearly three times as much as usual.
- Maintain and improve general health- Running is one of the best activities most people can do to improve their health. It raises HDL cholesterol, reduces the risk of blood clots, and encourages the use of 50% of your lungs that usually go unused. Running also boosts the immune system by creating a higher concentration of lymphocytes.
- Confidence- Running builds confidence and self-esteem. It allows the runner to defeat trial after trial, growing stronger and more sure of themselves. It provides a feeling of empowerment and freedom that comes with knowing that your legs and body are strong and capable.
- Stress relief- Whether by allowing you to time to think about life’s problems, or time to escape them for a while, tension flys away as the miles pass. Distance runs are great for solving problems that are nagging at you. Some of my greatest ideas or answers to situations that I couldn’t figure out have come to me during long runs. Speed runs are great for tearing through aggression and anger.
- “Runner’s high”- Running, especially outside in nature, has been proven to improve attitude. It creates a release of endorphins that can cause euphoria, or just a general sense of happiness. Running has been used for years to treat clinical depression and addictions of all kinds. Less tension, less depression, less fatigue and confusion are just a few of the changes that patients have seen after beginning a regular running program. Running gives them something to focus on, allowing them to see something besides their depressed state or addiction.
- Train your mind- By making yourself overcome the obstacles that running brings, you learn focus and determination. The will and strength that gets your body through runs you would rather skip, is what in turn strengthens your mind and gives you focus and determination in other areas of your life.
- Versatility- Not many sports can be done almost anywhere with almost no gear. We just need a good pair of running shoes and off we go. The world is your gym, go discover it!
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