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Mental Health: Top 10 Reasons to Start Running


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Whether you’re a seasoned gym rat, or just beginning a new workout routine, its always fun to include some running in your repertoire. It has great therapeutic value, not to mention a great calorie burner, and really seems to boost mood and energy levels if you have the discipline for it. 

Too often, stuck working, at our computers all day, we forget to move, and it shouldn’t be a chore to walk around the block, take the stairs, and count your steps each day. For the same reason its recommended by Apple to keep track, are for the same reasons setting aside 20-30-45 minutes of walking, can really get you moving and motivated to do more exercise in the future. Studies have shown that “taking more steps per minute can have a positive impact on your insulin level, body mass index, and waist circumference.”

What is running? Its cardio. Its good for your heart at a moderate pace, and gets your lungs to open and breathe deep, not be so stiff sedentary, and overall functioning more efficiently. I know with depression it’s hard to get moving, and with some meds, you can grow accustomed to staying still, and I promise you it doesn’t have to be that way, you can move with a little practice, eventually you get going again until it becomes a routine, and you feel like running again, even if the first few tries takes you awhile to get going and not feel like it. Running is one of those things you don’t feel like doing, but when you do it you feel better about yourself. I can’t say that all things in life are that way, stick to positive addictions in life. 

It’s recommended to “get moving 3 to 5 times a week.” It might not be easy to start running, but don’t be discouraged, even if it takes 4-8 weeks to keep up with a running routine.

There are so many apps these days to track your runs, count your calories, and log in your exercise routines each day, and keep stats going on your progress, including the calories you burn and the weight you are able to lose. Running is one of those workouts with immediate results, you tone, you feel tall, your breathing feels relaxed, and you feel good about yourself, having been productive that day. How many workouts give you an immediate reward that you don’t have to pay for? Running does and you get to be outside. 

Running is a great way to meet new people. They have running groups, if you feel like being social, or if you are training for a race to help get you prepared. Every city has its popular places to run, it provides a great community atmosphere that’s like a gym, minus the membership fees, I know that’s why I started. Get to know your city, get to know the areas you can walk, hike, and run in, and always run at a safe hour at night, where you feel comfortable to get to and from your car or your home, all the precautions are the same, not wanting to be followed, so I can understand the hesitancy to get outside and be alone at night just to go for a walk, use your best judgment. 

There is also social media to “share advice and motivation with other runners online.”  It helps with goal setting. I know early in my recovery from mental health issues, it was a way to focus on something positive that helped me to feel motivated and feel good about myself and actually saw results with dieting and drinking water too. According to“running regularly at a moderate or vigorous level can improve your mental health.”

Benefits of Running for Your Mental Health:

  • Improves Memory and Ability to Learn
  • Lessens Feelings of Loneliness and Isolation
  • Reduces Stress, Depression, and Anxiety
  • Improves Mood
  • Boosts Overall Feelings of Happiness
  • Helps with Sleep

So if it’s something you’re interested in changing your shape, or improving for results. It’s definitely a great way to challenge yourself and get good at, excelling when you feel like pushing yourself time wise, without having to do any heavy lifting. Running burns “double the number of calories compared to walking,” each mile burns 100 calories. Just managing a power-walking pace, sprinting is not required, will suffice for weight loss. For example, if you have a “medical issue that prevents [you] from engaging in high impact jogging,” you can still lose weight “with regular power walking without putting [your] health at risk.” You can also try walking at an incline on the treadmill.

Cardio is great for your mental health, not to mention helps to boost your self-esteem. It’s more than just about calories and burning fat, and just plain moving. It’s about you and your body, in sync, and functioning at an optimum level. What a great way to feel human and realize your own strength through the discipline of running, I know that’s why I got into it. According to Sri Chinmoy, running can give you “an inner spiritual fulfillment,”and teach us “determination, focus and reminds us of our aspirations to go beyond our previous limitations.”And according to some researchers, spirituality is also apart of our mental health and developing skills to better cope with our own individual issues in life, related to motivation and happiness. When you have “better self-esteem, confidence, and self-control,” some of the key characteristics of those who have been able to attain spiritual wellness, that in turn is what enhances your connection to what you believe, improves your interpersonal skills, and overall acceptance of others. I hope that this article inspires you to start something new, or just keep going. Good luck!

Here are my Top 10 Reasons to Start Running:

  • Great Therapeutic Value
  • Great Calorie Burner
  • Gets You Moving and Motivated to Exercise More
  • Good for Your Heart, Get Your Energy Back
  • Good for Your Lungs, Breathing
  • Helps with Weight Loss, on Meds that Hold Weight
  • A Positive Addiction You Can Be Proud Of
  • Makes You Feel Relaxed and Accomplished
  • A Way to Be Social Out and About, Minus the Interaction
  • Saves Money on Gym Classes and Memberships 

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