New Year’s Resolutions. We make them, we break them, sometimes we keep them – often times we don’t. But here’s the good news: 2017 is a brand new year, and boy do I have the resolution for you.
Now we all know that running is good for our bodies. It’s one of the best cardiovascular exercises to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to burning calories, it may help you live longer, and can even reduce your risk of some types of cancers. But what about the other benefits? And yes, there are other benefits! Here are 8 not-so-obvious reasons to lace up your shoes, make a playlist of your fave songs and head out on a new adventure, on foot.
1. It allows you to explore in a new way.
You truly don’t know your city/neighborhood/village/suburb until you run through it. Give it a try and make a mental note of all the things you see that you’ve never really noticed before. Houses, shops, trees, flowers – yes, those have indeed always been there.
2. It gives you a dedicated time to indulge in music.
If you’re anything like me, you have music on as a background track to almost everything you do. But when you listen to music when you run, you really get to listen and feel it. All other distractions are gone, and it’s just you and the music. Not into music? Try podcasts or news radio instead and learn while you burn (calories).
3. Or it’s a great way to unplug.
Try running without music instead. We as humans are usually over-stimulated as it is, so use running as a way to be mindful and detach yourself from technology.
4. You can always improve.
There’s always a way to be faster, increase your distance, or run competitively with others.
5. And yet where you are is good enough.
Getting out there and slowly running a quarter of a mile is way better and healthier than sitting on your couch half-sleeping/half-watching a show that isn’t even that interesting.
6. It’s a great way to deal with life’s stresses.
Life sucks sometimes. Running helps you release endorphins. And as we all know, endorphins make you happy.
7. It’s been clinically shown to relieve depression and anxiety.
That’s right. In 2004, a study was conducted that compared the effects of running and psychotherapy. For a length of 10 weeks, participants either ran 20 minutes three times a week, attended an hour-long therapy session every week, or did a combination of both. At the end of the study, all three groups showed a significant reduction in depression – with no meaningful differences between the three. And, at the 4-month follow up, all positive benefits were still present. It’s also cheaper than therapy.
8. And it’s easy as pie to get started.
Running is free. You can do it from in the mountains, to the valleys, to the oceans (hmm… this sounds familiar), anywhere, at any time, with others or alone. The choice is yours. All you need is a decent pair of running shoes and a wide-open road/trail/treadmill.
That’s the cool thing about running – you control every aspect of it. The place, the pace, the background, it’s all in your hands. So start 2017 by picking up a habit that really can change your life.