How Running Transforms Your Life
I wasn’t always a runner, but it’s an interest I picked up a few years ago and it’s been a transformative journey. There are so many benefits to running and it makes me very appreciative of my morning ritual. Here are some of the ways you’ll change once you pick up running.
1. Helps develop healthy habits
When I first started running, I decided to kick off this regimen in the morning. I’d come back from a run and have a healthy breakfast that was nutritious. By lunch time, I’d be hungry and would scarf down a big lunch that depleted my calorie burning efforts and made me feel sluggish. I wasn’t seeing the benefits in this cycle.
I decided to build on my good habits. After running, I’d come back and have a nutritious breakfast, prepare my lunch, pack morning and afternoon snacks. I’d make sure that I had lean proteins, complex carbs, fruits, veggies and plenty of water on hand. Doing this helped me to literally fuel and refuel my body throughout the day.
Running has converted me into a morning person, a person who exercises in the morning, packs lunches and snacks and gets about seven hours of sleep each night.
2. Promotes better sleeping
Exercising will make you prioritize sleep. I’ve learned to listen to my body when it needs rest. When I feel too sore to move or my body hasn’t recuperated from exercise, I’ll sleep for another 30 minutes or go to bed a little earlier.
Running has helped me re-evaluate my sleeping patterns and prioritize rest so I can be physically and mentally prepared while running.
3. Improves focus
Running helps me organize my thoughts, work through challenges and find solutions to problems. While running, you get to focus on your stride, breathing and pace, but you also have an opportunity to focus on something that’s running through your thoughts.
I find that I’m able to strategize, prioritize and work through problems during or after a run. I usually keep a piece of paper handy on my desk so I can come back and jot down creative ideas, projects or thoughts that popped into my head while running.
4. Helps you accomplish goals
When you first start off running, you’re hardly able to finish running a mile. It seems like a challenging, but doable challenge. And guess what? Once you accomplish running one mile, you focus on running two miles. Before you know it, you’ve challenged yourself to run a 5K and are working towards improving your pace.
Running helps you prepare for short-term and long-term goals.
That’s what I love about running. It teaches you that anything is possible if you focus, prepare and work towards a goal. When I have an “off day” while running, I find that running helps me understand that little setbacks aren’t the end of the world and that you can work harder next time. And I do.
5. Reduces stress
Exercising helps me cope better with stress. It makes sense because when you’re out running, you’re working your cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous system.
Aside from reducing stress, running can also help you cope with depression, anxiety or even a cold. I can’t remember the last time I got really sick.
6. You’ll feel stronger
Running is a physical and mental challenge. Challenging yourself to explore new routes, incorporate hilly streets or adding another mile will all make you physically stronger. Your mind will question your choices and your body will work extra hard to get you up those hills.
Running helps you be more mentally, emotionally and physically prepared for challenges that may come your way.
7. Boosts inspiration
We all started by running one mile and then packed on the miles. The enthusiasm you’ll have for sharing your running journey is contagious. It’ll make others feel like it’s doable for them as well. Be prepared to watch some of your loved ones, family members, friends, co-workers or strangers be inspired to start running.
You’ll also feel inspired by other runners or running groups and will lean on them for support, tips and positive energy to get you through challenging runs.
What’s your favorite form of exercise?