June 7 is declared Global Running Day!
Here are 5 reasons to start running, if you’ve been contemplating:
1. It’s a mood enhancer
Running (or stress from exercise) releases endorphins, neural chemicals or neurotransmitters, which repair neuron damage resulting in an immediate improvement in our moods. Endorphins interact with the opiate receptors in our brain which helps strengthens our ability to handle pain.
While reducing our perception of pain, endorphins are also the culprit of experiencing euphoria. So runners experience a natural “high” and enjoy fewer negative effects of stress. That sounds like a good time!
2. It helps you stay healthy
Running chemically makes you happier but it also physically keeps you fit in so many ways. First, not only are you burning calories while you’re working out but running regularly boosts caloric “afterburn”. This means you increase your ability to burn calories at rest!
Another fun fact, running increases bone mass, helps reduce chances of osteoporosis, and helps your joints and ligaments respond to stress. Don’t let the old wives’ tale of “running is bad for your knees” get you. Science says, “Not so”. In fact, studies show that running improves knee health, in your face naysayers.
Should I go on about the additional health benefits of running which improves memory, decreases cancer and lengthens one life? I could but I think you get the picture.
3. It’s goal-oriented
The process of running can have an effect on other areas in one’s life. Personally, I think running creates a perspective and lifestyle change that is overall positive.
I think to start, people should create small achievable goals, like getting out there for 10 minutes. Then next time 12, 15, 20. Or start with one mile, then 1.5. These steps will be less scary or intimidating as opposed to starting running and thinking you need to achieve a race at 5k, 10k or marathon. The best part is your goals are independently yours. No one has to know or you can post every effort made on social media to hold yourself accountable. The choices are yours and that’s a nice feeling to own.
4. It lets you explore the neighborhood
Let me just tell you, I’m a huge fan of running to explore. Often, with the help of a GPS, I’ll visit foreign places and just give myself the early morning to see sights, architecture and street art, before the hustle of rush hour or tourists. This is one of the most healthy, but also peaceful and interesting ways to start the day in a new city.
Even at home, you’ll find new passageways or beauty in a forest or park nearby that you miss when traveling by car or train. You are on the ground running, capable of finding a new trail or short cut that one can only do by foot. Move over, Dora the Explorer, this runner can give you a run for your money.
5. You develop new running community friendships
Initially, I started running as a way to stay in shape for team sports. Running with peers and teammates was honestly fun! Personally, running became more developed as a started my professional career and was encouraged by co-workers to push my distance from 5 miles to a half marathon and then the full marathon. In Boston, I joined a running club that helped me stay accountable on Tuesday nights, but then kept me socially in check by providing me with free beer and pizza after the run.
Running provides so many opportunities to interact, find support and motivation from others. Some of my best friendships and relationships have involved training and running races together.
The Instagram running community provides me with the ability to connect with people all over the world, learn about new races I wouldn’t have ever heard of, and connect with brands that improve performance like Under Armour, Zella from Nordstrom, Legend Compression Wear (click here for $15 off purchase), Momentum Jewelry and Mind Over Matter Athlete (put me ‘thefitwanderluster’ as your referrer and discount code ‘MMATHLETE10’ for 10% off).
Are you willing to get committed to starting today? Make the pledge here with Global Running Day