I have been on quite a runner’s high in 2016. While Running for Pleasure was one of those resolutions I made in the first minutes of the new year, I decided to hold off on writing about it until I was able to convert intent into a real habit. 3 Months into the new year, I am happy to report that I’m still running!
With a simple carrot (like everyone’s favourite TCS 10K in Bangalore in May) and stick in the form of guilt from fellow running nerds, things have been great so far.
Here are 5 Ways Running makes everything better!
1. It’s a Happy Drug
My favourite part about running is the ‘Runner’s High’ I experience just minutes into my run. Running (or any intense cardio activity) stimulates the release of Endorphins into the brain and nervous system.
Endorphins are peptides that bind with receptors in cells found in regions of the brain responsible for blocking pain and controlling emotion. The release of endorphins helps improve mood and alleviate stress. In other words, running makes stress feel like a walk in the park! 🙂
2. Get High on Oxygen
Running increases your heart rate and the flow of Oxygen-rich blood to the body and brain. This improves cognition and performance.
Plus, Oxygen rich blood flow helps keep those nasty free radicals at bay! A 2013 publication in the ‘Frontiers in Ageing Neuroscience’ showed remarkable improvements in heart health and brain performance in people who run regularly. Improved oxygen flow in the body is quite likely the clincher here.
3. Lower the nasty stuff!
Running helps lower blood pressure, reduce blood sugar, reduce bad cholesterol, reduce triglycerides and it is one of best ways of increasing your good cholesterol. Running also helps improve metabolism and consequently weight management.
People who run regularly have a 45% lower risk of death from cardiac diseases. Running is a perfect prescription for better health for Diabetics or Pre-Diabetics.
4. Great for Muscles and Joints
Running makes your leg muscles, tendons and ligaments stronger. Your joints are able to withstand more shocks in rugged terrain.
Running also improves the conditioning of the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen, and the intercostal muscles, which lie between the ribs and enable you to inhale and exhale. When you take a breath, 80 percent of the work is done by the diaphragm. If you strengthen your diaphragm, you may improve your endurance and fight chronic fatigue.
5. Wellness and Wellbeing
One of the biggest pluses of running regularly is the ability to get into a routine. Some of the most successful Sportspersons, Musicians, Business people and Artists have spoken extensively about the power of routine in ensuring a productive and happy life. A morning running routine also helps build better sleep habits into your life.
So, stop procrastinating! Get those shoes on and hit the road. It’s never too late to start!
To conclude I found inspiration in one of my favourite writers, Haruki Murakami’s beautiful short book aptly titled ‘What I Talk about When I Talk About Running’. Here’s a wonderful excerpt from the book.
“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life—and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree.”
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