Why Should I Start Running?
I started running when I was 12. I started running to lose weight. I was always a little on the heavy side, and middle school can be so cruel (I know this, I am a middle school teacher after all). Unfortunately, my new love of running was also coupled with some unhealthy eating habits. I did lose weight, but it came off in a way that was not sustainable. Luckily, the unhealthy eating stopped, but the running continued.
Running Exercise Benefits
Maybe you want to start running to lose weight, like I did. Maybe you want to start running because you want to join in on all of the fun races. Maybe a friend is trying to talk you into running. Whatever the reason, you are here, and I want to help you catch the running fever!
Here are my top 10 reasons to start running
- Increased energy levels
Yes, there is a ton of research out there that proves running increases energy levels. My personal experiences can vouch for this. I have hypothyroidism, which can completely zap my energy levels (plus, remember, I’m a middle school teacher). When I go through periods of running less, I feel tired all the time. Running consistently will give you more energy in your everyday life.
- Improved heart health
Runners typically have a lower resting heart rate than non runners. This is because when we work our hearts, they become stronger. Our hearts are able to pump out more blood with each beat, so we need less beats per minute to get blood running through out bodies. I wear my 45 bpm resting heart rate as a badge of honor! You’ll know you’ve made it when your doctor checks your pulse and asks “are you a runner?”.
- Live longer
I don’t know about you, but I’d like to stick around for as long as possible. A recent study found that runners live three years longer than the general population. Runners also have lower incidences of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
- Gets you outside
I love the outdoors. As adults, we are cooped up inside for way too many hours of the day. Running forces you to get outside. The fresh air and sunshine is good for the soul. If you live someplace sunny, like me, you also get an added vitamin D lift when you run outdoors. Plus, I’ve seen some interesting things while out for a run that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. If you live somewhere with trails, even better! You’d be amazed at what a run through the woods can do for your mood.
- Puts you in a good mood
Ever hear of the runners high? Yes, the runner’s high is real! I don’t experience it on every run, but every run does put me in a better mood. This is due to the release of endorphins that happens when your body gets cardiovascular exercise. Everyone around me knows when I haven’t run in a while, it isn’t pretty! I’ve also found that running helps me to tackle my everyday problems. When I run, things just don’t seem to bother me as much. Everyone needs a stress outlet.
- Races are fun
Races have come a long way. You can find a race at pretty much any distance. There are even beer races, bacon races, and underwear races (I’ll take the beer option). Running a race is a great way to stay motivated. If I pay for a race, I am more likely to stick to a consistent running schedule, because I want the social media bragging rights of a fast time (let’s be honest here). You don’t have to be fast to run a race, however. Just being a part of the energy and excitement is a sure way to catch the running bug.
- Make new friends
Runners are some of the best people on the planet! I have made lifelong friends through running. Every year, my friends and I go on a girl’s weekend that revolves around running a marathon. If you’re new to a city, or just looking to expand your circle, join a local running group. Many local running stores, and even bars have running clubs that meet at least once a week. Don’t worry about your pace, runners are very friendly and will welcome brand new runners.
- Have fun shopping
You can definitely get by with the bare minimum as a runner, but it is pretty fun to have a new hobby to shop for. Shoes come in bright colors, running shirts now have fun sayings, don’t even get me started on running tights! Handheld water bottles, hats, socks, gels, the ways to spend your money are endless!
- Beer tastes AMAZING
There is nothing better than a cold beer after a long, hot run. You’ve pushed your body to exhaustion, you’re hot, you’ve depleted all of your stored glycogen, you sit down (probably on the floor because you’re sweaty and gross) and you sip an ice cold IPA. There is something great about relishing over your bad-ass-ness with a cold beer. Plus, you don’t have to worry about calories right now, because you just burned a ton of calories running!
- Feel like you can conquer the world
When you first start running, it can be difficult to believe there will ever come a time when you can run a mile without stopping, but one day you do. You don’t think you can ever run a whole 5k without stopping to walk, but one day you do. You think “I’ll never be able to run a marathon”, but one day you do. The dedication it takes to become a runner somehow sneaks into your everyday life. Knowing that you worked hard to achieve a goal sets you up for success to achieve other, non-running related goals.
So, those are just some of the many benefits of running. Hopefully this list helped you decide to become a runner!