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15 Reasons Why You Should Start Running and Not Put It Off Anymore

15 Reasons Why You Should Start Running and Not Put It Off Anymore

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.

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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.

3. Stress-buster

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.

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4. Inspire

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.

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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.

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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.

Featured photo credit: http://depositphotos.com/portfolio-2069237.html via depositphotos.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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