Why I Love Running
by Coach Suzy
Running. A sport that can be done anywhere and the only required equipment is a determined mindset, a good pair of running shoes and some comfortable moisture-wicking clothing. Besides being convenient and relatively inexpensive, running offers numerous health benefits. More people are running 5K races and marathons than ever before. An even larger number simply run for fitness and never go near a race starting line.
Why do I love running? Because it makes me feel I can accomplish the impossible. It satisfies my yearning for adventure and it gives me moments of clarity otherwise unreachable. Problems and thoughts that have been swirling around in my mind disappear when I’m deep in the rhythm of my footsteps and my favorite tunes on my mp3 player. I often discover the perfect solution during my run or when I’m done with my workout. Simply put, running makes me a better person and a better Coach.
The running community is made up of people with incredibly diverse backgrounds and equally as diverse reasons that they run. No matter what drives them to keep hitting the pavement day after day, there are undeniable physical and psychological benefits of running as well. Let’s take a look at some of the physical benefits.[i] Running:
- Fights the aging process by preventing the muscle and bone loss that often comes with age.
- Reduces the risk of blood clots and heart attacks by strengthening the heart, lowering blood pressure and keeping the arteries elastic and healthy.
- Raises levels of HDL, the “healthy” cholesterol.
- Boosts the immune system by creating a higher concentration of white blood cells that attack disease.
- Burns an average of 100 calories for every mile jogged, making it an efficient way to lose/maintain weight.
Besides these tangible physical benefits, running has profound psychological effects as well. Most notably, many runners experience intense exhilaration and euphoria, commonly known as the “runner’s high”. This natural high comes from the release of endorphins, which pour into your system after exertion as nature’s way of preventing pain. Running can also be used as a drug-free way to help treat clinical depression and other psychological disorders. Other psychological benefits of running include:
- Increased confidence as you reach for and achieve your distance goals.
- Relieved stress and the ability to cope with problems more effectively.
- A positive attitude and a general sense of happiness.
- Boosted self-esteem related to positive changes in your body, such as weight loss.
Last but certainly not least, running provides us with a venue to spend time with friends and meet like-minded fitness lovers like ourselves.
So, if you’re already a runner, these are just some of the reasons for you to keep putting one foot in front of the other. For those of you who are still tortured by the thought of running a block, consider coming out for one of our group runs or joining me for our “Learn to Run” Program. While running may not magically solve all of your problems, and life will continue to pull you in a million different directions, I promise you lots of health benefits and a wonderful feeling of accomplishment deep down inside.
Are you ready to love running too?!
Suzy Cerra is a USAT certified triathlon coach, Camp Director, Assistant Race Director and VP of Operations with Experience Triathlon. As leaders in the endurance coaching industry, Coach Suzy and the Experience Triathlon coaching team help athletes balance the demands of life with their personal athletic goals, and have fun while doing so. Learn more about Coach Suzy and Experience Triathlon at www.experiencetriathlon.com.
[i] Fletcher GF, Balady G, Blair SN, et al. Statement on Exercise: Benefits and Recommendations for Physical Activity Programs for All Americans: A Statement for Health Professionals by the Committee on Exercise and Cardiac Rehabilitation of the Council on Clinical Cardiology, American Heart Association. Circulation. 1996;94:857-862.