5 Reasons to Run that Aren't Related to Losing Weight

Photo credit: Curtis Mac Newton

Running is one of the most convenient ways to exercise. It's free, you can do it anywhere and you only need your body and a decent pair of trainers to make it work. It's a full body workout and can often be equally as mentally testing as it is physically As I've said many times before, I honestly believe that getting yourself out the door is the hardest part of going for a run!

Some people think that runners lug themselves out of bed on a Saturday morning for a pre-brunch run simply to lose weight. However I want to share with you five reasons to go for a run that don't focus on weight loss or even fitness per se. They are all benefits I myself have experienced after a great run, and if improving your cardiovascular health and getting fit aren't quite persuading you to pound the pavements, hopefully these reasons will.

Boosts creativity

Some of my best ideas for blog posts, articles for work or even recipe creation come to when I'm out running. Having that time to switch off from work, social media distractions (looking at you, Instagram) and 'to-do' mode actually encourages my creativity to come forward. It gives my mind space to breathe, get inspired and discover thoughts.

You feel f***ing awesome

Empowered. Bad ass. On top of the world. These are just some of the feelings you may experience post-run. No one can deny the immense happiness of an endorphin rush. That post-exercise exaltation is the best high you can (legally) get. Seriously, if you're feeling down, agitated or just in need of a mood boost, get yourself outside and run or jog around the park for half an hour.

You become happier 

Anyone else get seriously tetchy or agitated when they've been inactive for too long? Yup, me too. Going for a run and experiencing that 'runner's high' not only lifts your mood in the short term, but has been proven to have long-term reductive effects on stress, anxiety and depression levels.

You build your mindfulness practice

It's your time to focus on just one thing - putting one foot in front of the other.

If you struggle to meditate, then run. Having that time to switch off from your mind and simply try to master your breathing whilst pushing yourself physically can help you clear the mind. I find myself in an almost meditative state sometimes as I switch off and focus solely on my inhales and exhales. Music plays a big part in this for me as well as I try to match my movement to the rhythm and my breath to my movement, until I find a pace that feels comfortable.

You improve your self-discipline

Committing to improving your running is no small fete. It takes regular commitment, determination and a lot of sweat. If you can beat the excuses, get yourself outside for a run and stick it out for a good 30 minutes, you will feel epic. Learning to do things that are good for you even when you don't feel like it is a great way of improving your self-discipline. You prove to yourself that you are stronger than your thoughts; your body can do things you didn't think possible and that the only one stopping you is your mind. Running helps me to silence my mind through movement and each time I run further, for longer or at a faster pace, I prove to myself that I am progressing. Having that commitment to progressing myself makes me feel empowered, strong and pretty awesome.

Disclaimer: I'm not a running expert or qualified PT:  I'm just sharing five of the reasons I love to run that aren't related to weight loss!

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