5 Reasons to Start Running (and Continue Running)

It almost goes without saying that it is socially expected for you to create a New Year’s resolution. Of course, there are always the cynics who pledge to eat more Cheetos and play more video games than the previous year. Some even take their apathy towards resolutions to a semi-sincere level by devoting the new year to avoiding road rage, accurately reporting their taxes and tipping better at their local coffee shops. But for every cynic, there is an avid proselytizer that can’t wait to let the whole world know about their resolution. However committed one is to this social phenomena of New Year’s resolutions, eventually the rubber meets the road and one must put their money where their mouth is. Enough idioms? It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. Chew on that.

Many people turn their resolution efforts towards exercise because they know that inherently, exercise is good for you. Of the long list of exercise methods, running is among the most popular choice. It is a great way to become healthier, happier and help anyone who watched their last pair of pants slowly turn into skinny jeans, make their way back to their desired physique. So, if you find yourself in the camp of resolving to run more in 2015, here are 5 reasons why your new commitment is a great choice. If you are already a dedicated runner, we hope this provides you with some additional ammunition for your next soap box speech to your non-running friends.

Photo: ESPN.com

1. Health Benefits

Regular running can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent disease and help you lose weight. All of these benefits result in a greater chance of living longer and reducing the amount of money you will spend on medical bills such as prescription drugs, co-pays at the doctor’s office and even preventing surgery in some cases. So as you log more miles than you ever have before and your muscles are on fire, remember that it’s worth it. Who knows, you may even slowly learn to enjoy the self-appointed torture of a great workout.

2. Increased Happiness

As Sheryl Crow says “if it makes you happy, it can’t be that baaaaaaaaaddd.” Right? Whether you believe finding personal happiness is life’s greatest endeavor or not, you probably wouldn’t choose to be less happy. Any web search will prove that there myriads of studies and claims about the correlation between happiness and health. Generally speaking, it is believed that people who experience consistent stress and anger are are less healthy, and people who consistently embrace optimism, humor and relaxation are likely to live longer. These are correlations, not causation, however, we believe running is a great way to help one become more happy because it improves confidence, offers increased energy levels and physiologically changes our body to run more efficiently.

Photo: Competitor.com

3. Builds Community

If you have ever seen a race live, you can’t help but be encouraged by the sign-holders cheering heaps of praise and inspiration on the runners. As runners drag themselves across the finish line, the words of affirmation ring in their ears and offer a sense of accomplishment. But listen to any athlete interview and you will never hear them say they achieved anything solely on their own effort. A mentor, a coach, a team, a parent all receive due recognition for their support throughout the journey. No (wo)man is an island. Running is a great way to meet new people with similar passions and goals, improve your training efficiency and have a positive influence on another person. Teammates offer accountability and competition, two highly important factors to success. So, think about putting yourself out there and start running with others.

Photo: sciencedaily.com

4. Improves Sleep

After a few solid workouts, that pillow is going to feel amazing. As your body recovers from activity, it will appreciate a deeper sleep and may improve the quality of your sleep. Overall, you will sense your body acclimate to a new ritual of well-deserved rest, which will result in you feeling more refreshed and help get back out on the road again. If sustainability is your goal to running, rest is one of the most important factors to change.

5. No Off-season

Some call running a pure sport because it’s so simple. Yet, so challenging. The challenge for the runner is not solely based on finding the right equipment, perfect weather conditions or location. Although these factors can effect the runner, the challenge is first and foremost internal. This means that the weather is not good excuse to skip your next run. That’s why a treadmill was invented! Runners find that their favorite sport is adaptable, and part of the joy is learning how to keep it going all year long. If you’re looking for something simple in nature, all you really need is the commitment to train and you can learn to enjoy running.

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