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Four Reasons Why You Should Run

Four Reasons Why You Should Run


    Jarring knees, bursting lungs and pouring sweat – these are just some of the unsightly consequences that social runners endure in an effort to get fit. However, there are non-physical reasons to take up running which, once adopted, can significantly improve the enjoyment of this exercise. Here are four:

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    1. “Me” time

    It is becoming increasingly difficult in life to have time to ourselves to think, reflect or completely switch off. Often this is forced upon us by the challenges of juggling work and family. At other times, the predicament is entirely self-inflicted. We simply can’t seem to resist the urge to reach for our digital gadget to fill any sliver of idle time that comes our way, be it sitting in the restroom, waiting at the bus-stop or queuing for a caffeine hit from our favourite barista. Running provides that rare avenue by which we can totally remove ourselves from life’s many distractions and truly have time for our minds to either roam wild or do absolutely nothing. No email notifications to divert attention, no phone calls to answer, not screaming children to attend to. Just the sound of our feet pounding the pavement as a backdrop to our thoughts pondering the possibilities.

    2. Creativity outlet

    When we first begin running, our minds are often disoriented from the sudden prolonged period of zero distractions. This rather ironic situation invariably leads to random or abstract thoughts sprouting in all directions—a fertile setting for true creativity. Admittedly, not too many runners have come up with ideas for curing cancer or longer-lasting light bulbs. However, I have lost count of the times, while running, that I managed to come up with solutions to the most frustrating of my problems, or with ideas from the innermost depth of my sub-consciousness.

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    3. Running your worries away

    Some of us are unfortunately so weighed down by the pressures of daily grind that, even when exercising, we can’t stop thinking about our problems. In most other sports, these lingering worries are forced to compete with the athletic tasks at hand (eg figuring out how to put that little white ball in a hole 400 yards away). We consequently come away from these activities feeling neither relaxed mentally nor fulfilled athletically.

    On the other hand, the primitive nature of running does not put any extra demand on our mental capacity, other than that we need put one foot in front of the other and not forget to breathe. If we can’t help ourselves stewing over our lives’ problems, running allows us to continue stewing over them. It allows us to do the stewing to our heart’s content, without interruption, until we have ourselves had enough. Each run then begins to eliminate just that little bit of our frustrations and anxieties, either by putting them in proper perspective or because we have worried about them so much during our runs that there is very little more to worry about. Before we know it, we start to feel mentally energized after each run, as if some of the worries have seeped out of our bodies along with the sweat.

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    4. Post-run tranquillity

    People pay very good money to escape to secluded islands or isolated mountain-top temples in order to achieve a sense of tranquillity. For those of us not as financially or spiritually able, the feeling of peaceful mellowness after a long run can be just as relaxing. I’m not sure whether this is what they call “the runner’s high”, but I have yet to find anything more therapeutic than the zen-like state of mind that overwhelms me after a 20km jog, as I sit under a shade, sipping an icy-cold drink while listening to the sound of my heart beats recovering and bird songs humming.

    It may appear remiss of me that I have not mentioned the many physical benefits as a motivation to run. However, if you can find the appeal in any or all of the above mental reasons to start running, you are much more likely to embrace it as part of your routine, instead of treating the exercise as a chore. The cardiovascular and health benefits then become just a by-product, albeit an extremely important one.

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    (Photo credit: Legs of a Runner During a Marathon via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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