I wasn’t always a runner. In fact, far from it. Although I was on sports teams throughout high school, short bursts of energy (think, racing to a soccer ball) were way more my thing. Ask me to run more than a mile, and it wouldn’t be a pretty picture.
That is until college athletics gave me no choice. Throughout four combined seasons of Division I Ice Hockey and Lacrosse, I learned to become a runner out of necessity. Now, running is one of my favorite workouts–and it keeps me sane. I only wish I had discovered it sooner.
TLDR>> Running checks more boxes than just a workout. Here are a handful of reasons why I’m hooked, and you could be too!
1// Stress Management
Maybe one of the most important things I have learned is that the effects of stressors we experience throughout the day–whether a commute, a review with the boss, a family argument, or just watching the news–don’t just disappear once the event itself is over. Until you take action to offload that stress, it will sit with you whether you realize it or not. That is why stress management is so critical. Enter running. There is nothing more cathartic than a great run, and it’s not just my opinion; numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of hitting the pavement to lower cortisol levels and increase endorphins.
2// Mind Reset
Part of being human is needing do-overs, sometimes more than once. Whether it’s an argument with a friend, a mistake at work, an embarrassing moment you just can’t let go of, or a day that just generally got off on the wrong foot, there is no better way to reset your head than a good sweat. The beauty of running is that it provides a mental and physical means of starting over. A run provides the space needed to sift through whatever is on your mind, while physically sweating out the toxic stuff. Using a run as a way to start over, even in the middle of the day, is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal.
3// Confidence Building
Confidence is a tricky thing. Too often, we treat confidence like something lucky, something we either are or aren’t born with. The truth is (just like anything else) the name of the game is practice. Practice setting and meeting goals, and confidence will only grow. Running is a great way to do this. Whether you are targeting a certain mileage, a certain pace, or just to move for a certain amount of time, there is power in setting and achieving a goal. Once you’ve put the time in, you can carry that confidence forward to countless other areas of life. Fran Hauser, long-time media executive and startup investor, coined this concept “evidence-based confidence.” For more on this topic, read our conversation about her book!
4// Future Health
While living in the moment is important, so is planning for the future. Running is one of those things that your future self will thank you for. Running has been shown to improve heart health, lung function (even in people with disordered breathing,) and circulation. There is also evidence that running consistently helps to build a stronger immune system. For women in particular, running helps to build and maintain bone density; something that becomes increasingly important with age. In short, unless you have a preexisting condition that prohibits you from doing so, getting into a running routine is a great way to invest in your future (and current!) health.
5// Metabolism Boost
Finally, everyone’s favorite topic — metabolism. Running is great for metabolism, but not just in the way we typically think about it. Yes, burning calories is a byproduct of any exercise, but research shows that running specifically impacts the rate at which our bodies function in a unique way. It can also benefit digestion. And, you can do it anywhere! No class subscription or fancy equipment needed.