I once thought I had an aversion to running. It was the summer going into my freshman year of college when I diagnosed myself being allergic to running. I was on the basketball team and every year before we started official practice all of the players had to run a mile in a qualifying time set by the coaching staff. The guards, which I was one of them, had to run a mile under five minutes and thirty seconds. At first glance this seemed doable, until I attempted it. I failed my first attempt coming in at six minutes and twenty seven seconds. The worst part was that if you didn’t qualify, you had to attempt it for the next four weeks every Friday.
I dreaded the next four Fridays. After failing to make the cut five weeks in a row, running was something I put off at all costs.
It was years before I laced up my running shoes and headed out the door for a run again, however, when I changed my perspective about running and focused on all of the potential benefits of running rather than focusing on an outcome (like trying to run a mile in under five minutes and thirty seconds) I actually fell in love with running.
Now, I run three to four times a week and absolutely love it.
Running can and should be a staple in your health and wellness. Here are 15 awesome reasons why:
1. It’s free
Running is one of the few exercises that don’t require any equipment or gym membership is running. You can run anywhere, for free.
2. Make some new friends
Running has become a trendy physical activity that is not only good for your physical health, but serves as a bridge to meet other like minded individuals and possible life long friends. Along the way, joining a running club you’ll bump into experienced runners who can offer you great advice on all things running like nutrition, running form and recovery.
Running bumps up your production of “feel good” neurotransmitters, endorphins. This is the “runners high” you may have heard of which leaves you with a calm, optimistic and balanced mindset.
As you get more consistent in your running, people will notice. They’ll start asking you why you have so much energy or how you managed to shed 12 pounds. You’ll soon have a platform to share your joy of running with others, and more likely than not, inspire them to take up running themselves.
5. Put the cash back in your pocket
Since you won’t be paying a gym membership to enjoy all the benefits of running, you’ll be putting away about $360 a year!
6. Meditation in motion
As you increase endorphin levels during your run, you’ll calm your mind and start focusing on the one task at hand, to run. You’ll soon enter a state where the daily irritations that commonly drag you down, are merely events that will soon pass, rather than defining moments in your life.
7. Stay mentally sharp
Running boost your overall brain power so you can function at peak levels throughout the day. There are two key brain chemicals released when you run that keep you mentally sharp; dopamine, which increases learning and attention capacity; norepinephrine,which influences motivation and arousal.
8. Live longer
By keeping a moderate running schedule,you’ll not only keep a lean body you’ll also increase your longevity
9. It only takes 5 minutes a day
If you’re not a natural born runner, it’s all good. You don’t have to start out running marathons. In fact, all it takes is five minutes a day. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology demonstrates that just five minutes a day of running significantly reduces the risk of you dying prematurely.
10. Fire up your metabolism
By running consistently, you will bulletproof yourself from a slow, crawling metabolism. You’ll be influencing lean muscle mass gain throughout your legs and core by keeping a running schedule. As you age or physical activity declines or both, your lean body mass declines as well. This is the leading cause in a slowed metabolism leading to fat gain.
11. Your knees are going to be OK
Contrary to what you might have heard, running won’t kill your knees. In fact a moderate running schedule can be good for you joints. Additionally, having a basic understanding of good running form will help prevent any kind of injury.
12. Gear up
Running and fashion are no longer two separate identities. It’s stylish to wear your running gear to lunch or to meet up for green tea with a friend.
13. Regulate your bowel movements
Dealing with constipation? Running can help. By raising your heart rate and blood flow with running, you’ll simultaneously contract your intestinal muscles without even realizing it. This action in return will help move stools quickly and efficiently.
14. Turn it up!
Music, particularly with a strong bass and an upbeat pace, makes you feel strong and confident. It pumps you up. This study by University of Northwestern proves that music can make you feel invincible. What better way to take all of this positive energy and go out for a run?
15. Get lean and sexy
Last, but certainly not least, by running you can slim down, burn the fat and look incredible. Consistent runners who pair their physical activity with a balanced diet that consists of whole foods, always maintain a low body fat percentage.
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