Running gives you so much more than improved fitness. I thought I’d give you some great examples of other things running adds into your life.
Mental health benefits
I think that this is one of the biggest things that my beginner runner groups feed back to me. That regular running helps with managing stress, anxiety and low mood. A run can solve a bad day, help manage a stressful work situation, or lift your mood on a low day. It can be the first thing that you start doing just for yourself after years of looking after others.
Joint and bone strength
Many people think running can be bad for your knees, or ankles or hips, but actually, regular impact can help to strengthen your bones and regular exercise also strengthens your joints. The key here is to take it slowly when you start, especially if you are starting from scratch, or from a long break. It’s worth walking more first, and doing exercises to strengthen ankles, knees and the muscles of your core and lower body.
A sense of community
Now this depends on how you decide to fit running into your life. I find that my beginner running groups really help to encourage and support each other, and that this is both uplifting and provides a gentle accountability too. Parkrun is a great running community to join, and you get to see the same faces week in and week out, even if you just run and go, you’ll feel a part of something. Running groups and running clubs provide even more of a group community feel, and a weekly chance to check in and chat while you run or train. I know that it’s a great way to get to know people in your area, you don’t have to be training for a half marathon or aiming for first place to join. There are some great running communities online as well, offering support and accountability, or a safe space to ask questions.
Time spent outside
There’s a recent research study from Exeter university on the overall health benefits of spending time outside. There’s a useful Guardian article on this here. Running outside will help you spend more time outside and to experience the overall improvements to your health and life satisfaction (2 hours a week being optimum but anything is better than nothing in my book).
I’ve made some big decisions out running. It’s a way of engineering a great thinking space, you can get lost in the rhythm of the run and let your thoughts flow differently. Equally, if you feel like you’re completely overwhelmed and don’t know where to start
A chance to explore
I always take my trainers on holiday or even on weekends away. It’s a great way to get a sense of where I am and suss out the nearest shops, beach, restaurant or just find a great view. It’s a great way to connect with wherever you are (but always make sure you let someone know your route and what time you expect to be back).
A happy space
As someone in my running group reminded my the other day, running is her happy space. A friend asked her why she was running, and her answer was that it made her feel happy. What more could you ask.
Want to find out more?
I have a free download with 10 steps to getting body and mind ready for running here.
Or you can find out about my next beginner running courses here.