It’s hard to believe that yet another year has flown by. They slip from our arms like raw turkeys! That’s right, slippery poultry that we wrestle with in the kitchen, shooting like a rocket from our tight grip. We chase the bird around the room trying desperately to hang on only to find that the tighter we hold on, the stronger they dispatch from our hands. I digress.
This year is coming to a close and in just a few weeks we will start a shiny, new, fresh opportunity to begin again. I firmly do not believe in resolutions, I feel like when we tell ourselves that, “this year will be different,” it implies that there is some invisible timeline that we need to hold ourselves accountable for. I believe that we should always allow ourselves the grace to begin again no matter what time of the year. The phrase “Simply Begin Again” is so forgiving and allows us some clemency in a world so full of criticism and judgment. I think it is the key to a more joyful and healthy life.
Running for me is not about perfection, losing weight, or fitting into a little black dress. It’s about maintaining my emotional wellness. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always easy. I have gone weeks, even months, not running. The hardest part is the first step out the front door. Sometimes having a firm conversation with myself to take those first steps out the door is all it takes.
Once I’m out there and the first 5 minutes have gone by, I find myself in a rhythm at a nice, meditative pace. Then I can relax into it and all of the reasons why I love to run come flooding into my mind and body.
Here is a list of just some of the reasons we should take up running this year or any day of the year!
1. Crossing a Finish Line isn’t always about being in first place. Setting goals can be very motivating for some. Find a 5K race two months from now, set a firm date on the calendar and sign up– don’t think about it too much, just sign up! Now find a training plan for beginners, maybe a run/walk plan and stick to it. Maybe you are someone who never finishes what they start. Crossing that finish line can be very emotionally fulfilling.
2. Quiet time. Life is so noisy. Being out on an early morning run fills your mind with silence. For a busy parent, student or working professional, silence is like magic to the soul.
3. Stress reliever. I’m not sure if it’s the endorphins, the time alone, or the fact that we are away from our to-do lists, but whenever I feel like I’m going to lose my sh*t, I go for a half hour run and I feel much better.
4. Creative Space. I’ve been running for decades and some of my most creative ideas have come to me while on a run. I have found that anything over an hour does not benefit the creative mind. It is within those first 60 minutes that the creativity comes to me. I have even experienced creative ideas on runs as short as 20 minutes.
5. Time with God. If you believe in a higher power (doesn’t matter which one or if it’s the Universe), this is the best time to hear that steady, stable voice of wisdom come through. It is also a wonderful time to pray for yourself, those around you, and the world that we live in.
6. Time away from the Kids. As parents we love our kids to death, but I’m pretty sure every parent agrees that having breaks from them from time to time is needed. When my kids were really young, my early morning hour-long run was an essential part of making it through the day without losing my mind.
7. Time with Friends. Our running friends mean so much to us. It is an uninterrupted hour with them and something about running opens the heart. It’s pure conversational bliss. Running buddies are the best!
8. Can Transform Your Finances. How you ask? I shared my story about that right HERE. You will be surprised how running changes your life.
9. A place to get your priorities straight. Sometimes we devote too much energy to the wrong things! Giving yourself some time without the temptation of social media or pressures of life will enable you to prioritize what’s important, and how to give those more relevant tasks time.
10. Natural Anti-Depressant. Many Doctors now recommend exercise along with cognitive and other forms of therapy to improve a patient’s overall well-being. According to personal experience and this article backs it up, you need to be moving for about 22 minutes before people can get past ruminative thinking.
11. A Moving Meditation. This goes along with letting go of ruminative thinking. Once you can get beyond the thoughts, especially the negative ones, you can focus on your breathing and get into a meditative state. For more information on this, I highly recommend this book. It’s one of my favorites– Running with The Mind of Meditation.
12. You Might Make Some Money. Okay, so maybe you won’t become rich, but THIS a really fun way to make a little and if you’re really creative, you turn a little into a lot!
13. To Help Others Achieve a Goal. Whether you’ve been running for a while or just starting, helping someone else reach the finish line or begin a running routine can be very gratifying. Being there and helping someone on their journey can be highly motivating in it of itself.
14. Because it’s gratifying to achieve a personal goal. It doesn’t have to be crossing a finish line, it can simply be to consistently run week after week. Once you make running a part of your routine, it becomes more pleasurable and you come to rely on it for your emotional well-being.
15. A place to express ourselves free of judgment. When life throws rotten tomatoes at you, having a place to scream and cry free of other people’s judgment and criticism is extremely therapeutic. Sweat and a red face resemble tears and anger… no one will know the difference.
16. Because being indoors all of the time isn’t natural and will eventually drive us crazy. UGH! Being inside all of the time makes us crazy and we don’t even realize it’s happening. We think we are having a bad day and we might be having one, but being inside isn’t natural and will eventually will make us a little bonkers. Going outside, feeling the cool or hot air on our skin, hearing the sound of birds singing, or wind in the trees, or the simple act of breathing in fresh air, is recharges the human spirit.
17. Because your dog needs to move and be outside as much as you do. When I don’t run with my dog she has horrible anxiety, gets in the trash and is more likely to pee or poo in the house. They can’t talk, but their actions speak volumes. They have stress and anxiety just as we do.
18. It’s Cheaper than Therapy. I have grown more as human being from running than I ever have in cognitive therapy and counseling. I’m not saying it is not helpful and even necessary for some, but it doesn’t hurt to add running in there as well and who knows, maybe you will discover that running is all you need to sort out your issues.
19. You can get really good at Pokemon Go. This one is fun! My boys love Pokémon Go and now all they want to do is run so they can hatch eggs. They have spawned more eggs than a fish!
20. Meeting people you otherwise would never have been friends with. A great way to start running regularly is to join a running group. Not only does this keep you accountable, but you will meet new people, count on them, and form life-long friendships. Some are people you would have never run in to otherwise.
[bctt tweet=”40 Reasons to Take Up Running This Year Other Than Losing Weight #RunChat #Fitfluential”]
21. Makes you feel free as a bird. Other than standing atop the Alps and singing “The Hills are Alive,” there is nothing that makes you feel more alive than a nice, mind cleansing run.
22. Brings new opportunities. You never know who you will meet or what opportunities will emerge from your running. I wouldn’t think about this all of the time, but let it happen naturally. Be open to new possibilities.
23. Endorphins. It’s real and they are lush! You may not feel them at first and they may take 30 minutes or so to kick in, but when they do, they’re magic. Side note: I stop feeling the endorphins after about an hour and half, maybe sooner. There seems to be a sweet spot.
24. You become intimate with the landscape. This one took some time to appreciate, but I know every detail of every square inch of my community. I know what squirrel lives where, the neighborhoods that have the most change on the ground, I even know the little piece of grass that grows through the concrete on Main Street. When you become so familiar with the landscape, you feel like it’s a part of you.
25. There is something cathartic about sweating. Not only do you get the endorphins, but the actually feeling of being dripping with sweat almost feels like some sort of detox. When you get home from a sweaty run, change into a pair of really soft sweat pants and a shirt. The best feeling ever!
26. It might improve your relationships. Being able to put things in perspective while you are running helps aid your relationships. You can come home more patient and tell yourself, “do I want to be right, or do I want to make peace?” It allows us to just love those around us.
27. It helps reduce the symptoms of PTSD. My husband is a War Veteran, so we have done some research on PTSD, it may help reduce some of the symptoms if used in conjunction with cognitive and other forms of therapy. Here is an article by Runners World about running and PTSD.
28. It helps Recovering Addicts to stay sober. I am no expert, but several of my running friends are recovering addicts and they swear that running helps aide them in sobriety. Here is an article that might back this up by Mind Body and Green.
29. Because it improves your self-esteem. Beauty begins on the inside. Working hard toward living your best life ( not a perfect life), a different life than you were yesterday, is empowering. All of these emotional benefits of running build your confidence.
30. Because people think you’re crazy. It’s funny and a compliment when someone looks at you in disbelief when you tell them you are running a half, full, or ultra marathon.
31. Because most of the time, you will not regret running. There have been very few runs that I actually regretted… in fact, none. I may have been hurting or sick, but I still did not regret it. In fact, those difficult runs showed me how strong I am.
32. You see sunrises and sunsets that someone inside never will. Getting up in the wee hours of the morning has it’s benefits. You will see sunrises that look like liquid fire, cotton candy and neon blankets. Every time I am blessed to see one I am so grateful I got my arse out of bed to run.
33. When you start your day with a run, your mind seems more focused. When I don’t run my day seems confused, scattered, and unorganized. Running helps me get my thoughts straight so I can be focused and knock out my to-do list.
34. When you start your day with a short run, you’re more productive the rest of the day. Once you’re focused, you can organize your day and seriously kick bootie. Days like that I feel so proud of myself– see #29.
33. It helps people who have ADD organize their thoughts. I myself have never been diagnosed, but my mind is crazy with thoughts that are all over the place. Running seems to calm my mind and put all of my thoughts in a organized line instead of an out of control party. Here is an article by The Atlantic Monthly discussing the science behind this.
34. It’s as good as a cup of coffee to wake yourself up. You know that overwhelming feeling of not being able to function unless you have a cup of coffee? Well, sometimes I have gone out the door without caffeine and when I come back after 30-60 minutes, I don’t need the coffee anymore. It wakes you up naturally! So, if you are trying to quit your coffee addiction, try running! (See #28)
35. For a cause. Maybe you have a loved one or friend that is terminally ill. It can leave us feeling so helpless. We often feel the need to do something, and running for a cause sure does help. Not only are you raising money and awareness, it makes you feel less helpless.
36. It can aid the grieving process. Perhaps you’ve lost a loved one or a pet. It can be devastating and although you may feel like curling up in ball, running may actually help. It’s a place where you can cry and release your grief. (See #15)
37. It’s a wonderful way to tour a new city. Whether you are in your own city or on vacation, there is no better way to see all of the sites than running. (See # 24)
38. It might balance your Hormones. In this Women’s Health Article it points to evidence that regular exercise might help aid in keeping your hormones balanced.
39. Because you will feel strong and powerful, and that is truly beautiful. As the confidence rises up in you, you will feel this sense of calm and belonging. You will self-worth will improve and you’ll feel like nothing is impossible. Running teaches us how to get through uncomfortable life situations.
40. It’s the cheapest way to exercise. Nothing wrong with joining a gym, but some are really expensive and you have to drive back and forth. With running all you need is a pair of running shoes and you’re out the door. It’s convenient, inexpensive, and something almost everyone can do. To make it even cheaper, take a look at these Dollar Tree Hacks.
So, as we begin again, and we start anew, if any of the above is important to you, consider strapping on your shoes and going for a run. I promise you won’t regret that decision and you never know, it might end up altering your life. Happy New Year to all!
[bctt tweet=”40 Awesome Reasons to Take Up Running This Year Other Than Losing Weight #RunChat #Fitfluential”]
Have you found any great deals at Dollar Tree or Dollar Store ?