Think that running always has to be about fitness? Or that it must be only for the physically fit and able? Maybe you think that running is just boring exercise that people do out of necessity rather than for fun? It must be that those crazy runners are all obsessed with nutrition and working out till they have the perfect body? Nope. None of the above.
Running of course has tons of fitness and health benefits but those are the just the obvious surface things. Running can actually give you so much more!
Here are 5 reasons non fitness reasons that you should give running a fair chance.
Connect with nature
When I first started out on my fitness journey I had no idea how long it had been since I really connected with the outdoors. I had spent so many years insisting that I was more of “indoor person” that I had forgotten what it was really like to feel the wind on my face or to watch the sunlight dance through the trees. At the beginning I didn’t run, I just walked. As I walked I began to notice things around me. Wildlife, trees, grass, flowers. I noticed the seasons and how there was magic and life in each and every one of them. As walking turned to running, I never stopped noticing and appreciating the world around me. I began to make more of an effort to choose trails and paths that had less urban surroundings. I felt connected. Even now, every time I go out I take a moment to stare up into the clouds and watch them float by. Breathing in clean, crisp air makes me smile and brings me new levels of joy and peace. An appreciation for nature has been a surprising side effect of running. Now 2 years into my running journey, I actually crave the outdoors and need to run in order to feel connected to the world around me.
Time alone to reconnect with yourself
It seems like in today’s society we are never alone. Even if we are physically alone we are connected to our smartphones and the entire digital world. We are forever catching up on what everyone else is doing and so little time is spent doing productive things in our own lives. Time alone and unplugged means you can actually think without interruption or distraction. Running gives you that freedom. You don’t have to answer the phone, you can’t check email or social media, you don’t have to talk to anyone. It’s just you. You and your thoughts. Time alone to think about your journey and to focus on consciously directing it. When I run, I plan my day, my week and even my month. I focus on my goals, my dreams and make plans to make them happen. I can work out problems in my head or simply let off steam as I go. When we are always distracted with other people’s wants and needs, it is impossible to focus on our own.
Becoming in tune with your body
Running is an amazing way to learn more about the body you live in. The longer you run the better you become at really listening to your body. In the beginning I relied mostly on an app to tell me when to run and when to walk. Now I just listen. I know the difference between warm up pain and real muscle pain. I can hear and feel the difference between shallow breaths and deep breathing. I know when to push and when to slow down. My body can tell me if I’ve fueled and hydrated properly or not enough. I can feel how a slight difference in body alignment can either release tension or create it. Knowing your body inside out is super important for all aspects of health and well-being. Learning to listen to it, is the key.
Learning to hydrate
No choice on this one. If you are going to run you need to be well hydrated. Most people are not properly hydrated for an average day let alone when it comes to working out or running. Running will make you thirsty like you have never been thirsty before. So you have no choice but to learn the how, when and why of drinking enough water. Hydrating before you run will ensure better, longer and stronger runs. Learning to hydrate in order to run well, will ultimately create a habit that gives you life long benefits. Drinking more water will give you clearer skin, better digestion, better mental clarity and so much more. It becomes and endless cycle of benefits.
Again no choice. Run and you will sleep better, longer and deeper. It’s just that simple. You will appreciate sleeping more and actually start waking up refreshed and ready to tackle the day. If you are a coffee drinker, you will find that you need less of it to stay awake in the late afternoon. Running gives you energy for the day and blissful, happy sleep at night.
Runners, what are your non fitness related reasons for running?
Non runners, what are you waiting for??? 😉