Running has a plethora of benefits, from improving your fitness to allowing your mind a time-out from the stresses of day-to-day life. Over the last 10 years, I’ve come to realise that the benefits of running are far greater than what meets the eye. Running is different for everyone, but here are five reasons why I run, and what ‘run happy’ means to me.
1. Running makes me feel on top of the world
If you’ve been running for a while, you might have experienced the term ‘runner’s high’: the uplifting sensation that rushes through you either during or after a run. The natural high is produced by chemicals in our brain, specifically the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF) which is released during aerobic exercise. If you’re yet to experience this elevating emotion, just you wait — you’ll feel like you can take on anything.
2. Running allows me to reconnect with nature
It’s not very often I get to completely disconnect from technology, but running allows me to put my phone away and absorb my natural surroundings. My favourite runs are those where I’m completely immersed in nature. There’s something incredibly relaxing about it, plus, it brings about a sense of adventure — a sensation that’s often difficult to come across in your own town.
3. Running is moving meditation
How often do you take the time to be still, to focus on the present and to tune into your body and mind? I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t do it enough. Running however, gives me that opportunity to observe my body and mind. It allows me to tune into how I’m feeling — whether angry, sad, happy, nervous, excited — and channel the emotion through running, clearing my mind to a state of calmness in the process. I guess you could say, running is my free therapist!
4. Running can change people’s lives
Running doesn’t just bring people together, it creates powerful bonds, strong friendships, a community spirit, and has the ability to make a profound difference to people’s lives. Whether through raising money for charity, making new friends, motivating somebody else to achieve their goals or having a supportive team around you, running creates an environment for you to make an impact on somebody else, and vice versa.
5. Running makes me feel resilient and powerful
From the power you feel when your chest is high, your feet are light and your stride is strong, to the determination you cultivate when pushing through a challenge; running makes me feel resilient. It really puts things into perspective, and if there’s anything it’s taught me, it’s that I really can do anything if I put my mind to it.