For most people, running sounds like a lot of hard work. You’re probably no different. Lacing up your shoes right now probably doesn’t sound as good as staying where you are and sifting through cool blogs online. What you might not have known though, is that most of the world’s top runners actually agree with you.
It’s true. Even many ultra marathon runners often talk about how they never really liked running and got into the sport because they were driven to achieve something challenging. Because let’s be honest, even once you’ve been running for years, it still hurts, it sucks, and there are plenty of times when you want to quit.
So why would you do it? What’s the point in lacing up your shoes and getting going in the first place? Well, today we’ll look at a lot of good reasons to go for a run right now. Whether that means you’ll be out for twenty minutes or several hours, the reasons are still the same. If a little motivation is what you’ve been looking for, then you’ve come to the right place.
Running is good for your lungs
If you’ve been trying to quit smoking or have recently quit, then there’s nothing like running to help you along the way. After all, you’re probably familiar with the burning feeling in your chest that comes from intense exercise. But if you make the decision to exercise take precedence over the desire to smoke, you’ll have a powerful motivator on your side.
Even if you’ve never smoked in your life, high levels of cardio is one of the best ways to improve the health of your lungs. That, in turn,, improves the health of your whole body and your brain. Studies have also shown that cardio is a strong factor in increasing your overall lifespan as well as reducing risk factors for many diseases that could cut that short.
Running is good for your metabolism
Lots of people start running because they want to lose weight. I mean, it’s no secret that doing lots of cardio is great for weight loss. However, it’s bigger than just losing weight. Running helps stimulate your metabolism. And while that does mean more calories burned, it’s more complicated than that.
A lot of people think that physical activity ‘speeds up’ your metabolism. But that’s not exactly the case. You see, your metabolism is a process that happens in every cell in your body all the time. It’s not an organ or a thing you turn on. What exercise does is it uses up your energy stores and gets your digestive processes working. You could say that it makes your cells hungry for nutrients. This helps all your body’s processes get going and keeps all the cycles fresh.
Best of all, running makes you hungry. And don’t go skimping on your food if you’ve been spending time running. Your body needs lots of nutritional food to refuel after a big run. Just be sure that you keep the focus on nutritional, and your body will feel great.
Running is good for your self-esteem
One thing they don’t teach in most school these days is self-esteem. And that’s a quality that can be pretty hard to come by in the US sometimes. However, getting into running is a great way to build some. Even though the first time you run, you might not feel like you’re all that great at it. Heck, you might feel downright pathetic. But if you keep at it, you’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish.
Each time you go running and go a little farther, you’ll feel a little better, and you’ll be able to see your progress before your eyes. But the fact of the matter is, you should feel good from the first time you lace your shoes up. Even if you only run a half mile, don’t forget to give yourself credit. You got off your couch and did something to make yourself feel good. They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And you just took it.
Running is good for your legs
Now, let’s not get too far into this without covering the obvious. Running is great for your legs. It won’t just make them stronger, but it will also develop the strength of your tendons, ligaments, and joints. Our legs are not only our most important appendages but also home to some of the biggest muscles and bones in our bodies. We live on these things, so taking good care of them is essential.
That means you have to be careful not to overdo it. It’s easy to jump in too hard and too fast with a sport like running and wind up with an injury. So be careful finding the balance between pushing yourself and taking care of your body. Be sure to eat lots of nutritional meals before and after you run.
Running builds resilience
No matter where you live, if you keep at it long enough, you’re bound to wind up running in less than ideal conditions. Whether that means it’s raining, snowing, or it’s 100 degrees, you should make a point of going out anyways. Take appropriate equipment to keep yourself safe and your body temp where it needs to be. But don’t let the weather stop you from getting it done.
Sometimes in life, conditions are less than ideal, but you’ve got to go through with it anyway. There’s no pause button. Your big meeting won’t wait for you, your big break only breaks once, if you have a date tonight then you’d better show up tonight. Running is excellent training for your resilience. Even on the most beautiful day when the temperature is just right, you still might get a blister, or a leg cramp, or any number of other things that will push back against you.
Get in the habit of finishing your distance, no matter what. Once you achieve your goal, go a little farther, and then a little farther. Usually, even the most driven people put their limit somewhere around 80% of their potential or less. See what it feels like to hit 90% or 95%.
Running makes you a role model
We’ll talk about your self-esteem and motivation more momentarily, but it’s worth noting that sometimes running isn’t just about you. If you’re a parent, an older sibling, or have anyone that looks up to you in your life, running might be a big inspiration to them. You might not even know that your friends look up to you. Or if you have kids, they might not realize that you are their role model. But ten years down the line, they’ll look back at your dedication and work ethic, and it will change how they meet their own challenges.
Being a role model is a big job, and it’s one you don’t always know you have. There’s no sign-up sheet, no form of consent. But by living an inspiring life, you will actually change the lives of those around you. So even if you don’t feel like getting out for a run today, do it. Your motivation is a gift not only to yourself but to all those who look up to you.
Running is good for your motivation
Speaking of motivation, by running, you won’t just motivate those around you. Your own motivation is closely tied to the things you do and don’t do on a daily basis. If you spend your days lazing around on the couch eating chips, you probably won’t feel very successful or very motivated. But if you get out for a run every day whether you like it or not, you’ll start to change the way you see yourself.
It comes back to what we mentioned about self-esteem earlier. By challenging yourself and working hard, you’ll develop greater self-esteem. That, in turn, will help you to stay motivated to keep pushing the bar. Motivation is like a muscle, you have to exercise it. Going for a run, especially when you don’t want to, is a great way to flex it.
Running is an adventure
One of my favorite parts about running is seeing the world from a different perspective, seeing new places, and moving through it all on my own two feet. Sure, your morning run around your neighborhood might be pretty boring by now. So instead, try to make a point to go running in at least one new place per week. Or sign up for races in cool places. You may find yourself running up volcanoes, through the jungle, or along alpine ridge lines. The first race I ever ran was in a lava field below a volcano in Guatemala. Terribly hot, but terribly cool at the same time.
Running isn’t just an adventure because of the places you go exercises. After all, an adventure is any sort of journey where the main character evolves and grows. Just the journey of becoming a runner is an adventure. You’ll start to collect crazy stories, memories of serious hardship and total victory. In ten or twenty years when you look back on your life, you’ll be glad you took the adventure of running.
Running helps you sleep
There’s nothing like getting home after a big day of running and collapsing for a big night of sleeping. Of course, there’s usually a big evening of eating somewhere in between there. But the sleep you get on days when you get plenty of exercise is incomparably better than days when you didn’t do much.
Getting in the habit of exercising daily will actually reduce the amount of sleep your body needs. You’ll start to wake up more energized and better rested, even after getting less sleep than normal. It’s like the reverse of a vicious cycle.
Running helps you set goals
My favorite part about running, and really the only thing that keeps me moving most days is goal setting. Running is all about setting goals and then achieving them and exceeding them. It’s the same if you’re just trying to make it around your block once, or if you’re going for mile twenty six of a marathon, the feeling of breaking through a goal is unbelievable.
When you’re running at your limit, setting goals is often the only way to keep yourself moving forwards. However, it’s not just running where you’ll find that to be the case. Goal setting is one of the most important skills to bring into your daily life. If you do, you’re sure to start noticing results. Combine that with the extra self esteem and motivation you’ve been cultivating, and you’re in for a major life shift.
So get off your couch, lace up your shoes and get ready to go. You can run for a mile, or you can run for a thousand. All you need to do is start with a single step.
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