Ask me why I run and I’ll tell you “Because I have to!”
I’ve ran since I was about 17 when I decided as a slightly curvy teenager that I needed to do something. And I’ve ran all of my life. It’s a bit of an addiction I guess. But, a good addiction. Does it sometimes hurt? – Yes. Does it sometimes leave my muscles sore and aching? – Yes. Does it always make me feel great? – Yes! (Mostly!) It gives me a great sense of achievement and a huge well-being boost. When I get in from work feeling sluggish, or wake up on a morning feeling less than refreshed, or I need to get out and have some fresh air, a run always pays me back for the effort of putting my trainers on and going out. It’s a stress buster, burning off the cortisol that’s flooding your body after a stressful day at the office!
There is plenty of evidence that running as some great health and life benefits. Runners World tells us that running makes you happier, benefits your joints and bones, keeps you mentally alert, adds years to your life, and can even reduce the risk of cancer. It also says that it gets you fitter…. Well, er, yes… I’d imagine it would.
I can’t vouch for all of these things but I can say that after a run I feel psychologically more positive and more alert. I know that I’m fitter and healthier as a consequence, and that, with the right stretching after I feel stronger and more ‘in control’ of myself physically when demands are made on my body. And there also seems to be evidence that exercise in general helps you look younger…. Now I can definitely vouch for that!
I make sure I get at least a weekly fix by going to my local Parkrun. Have you heard of Parkrun? It’s a world wide phenomena! Check out the Parkrun website to find one near you. Register and print yourself a bar code and you’re off and running …literally! Parkrun is a 5k (3.1 mile) run that starts at 9 a.m. every Saturday. It’s a great distance as it’s achievable but testing for most (don’t embark on it unless you’ve checked with your doctor if you’ve not exercised for a while or have a health condition yaddah yaddah yaddah… I’m going to assume you’ll be sensible… if it’s hurting stop… well… until you get to the point where you want it to hurt!). Also, the fact that you’re running with other people is a huge boost. My advice… start at the back and you’ll soon settle into the field where you feel comfortable. And, if you want to walk a little, then walk – you won’t be on your own – so that’s cool. Everyone doing their own thing. It’s not a competition. It’s very friendly and supportive. And there’s always a tail walker so even if you’re at the back you won’t be lonely. You’ll get your bar code scanned at the end. Don’t run without one. And then you’ll get your time sent to your phone or email! Brilliant! Do it every week and see how quickly you come on!
So get running! Look young, feel great, stay sharp! Get your running shoes on and get out there!