With New Year’s approaching a lot of people are starting to consider changes to their lifestyles. While there’s no bad time to start living a healthy lifestyle or consider a healthier way of eating the tradition of creating New Year’s resolutions seems to create a general uptick in these changes. While my family and I started Keto and hiking/running before New Year’s last year, I did make continuing this lifestyle one of my resolutions. I’m pretty happy to say I have kept up with that goal and as a result, I have felt better about myself this past year than I ever have before. If you’re looking for a new healthy habit to start then here are my top 5 reasons to start running.
Top 5 Reasons to Start Running in the New Year
It Doesn’t Require any Fancy Equipment or an Ongoing Gym Membership
I’m not going to lie and say that running can’t become an expensive sport. There are a lot of products out there marketed towards runners for a good reason. Like any hobby the more invested you become the more equipment you start to look at. But! The good news is that the basics you need to start are pretty simple. A good pair of running shoes and some comfortable work out clothes will be enough to get you started. The open road is your gym and honestly, I find it more enjoyable than my few ventures on a treadmill anyway! If you want to try a more scenic route then State Parks generally have some great trails you can explore.
If you fall in love with running (like we did) then you can start adding in other items. Hydration vests for long distances, GPS watches, and specialized gear can always be bought one at a time and they tend to last quite a while. With all of that in mind, cost definitely gets a spot on my top 5 reasons to start running list.
Stronger Bone & Joint Health
Odds are that if you have mentioned running to anyone around you someone has proclaimed that you’ll ‘ruin your knees’. It’s a long-standing declaration that is pretty easy to believe. There is no denying that running is a high impact sport. However, current scientific studies have concluded that running on a regular basis does not harm your joints and bones. In fact, it’s quite the opposite!
Studies have shown that people who run on a regular basis have stronger denser bones which could help lower the chances of getting osteoporosis as we get older. Because bones respond to stress by getting stronger, runners develop stronger weight-bearing bones. Studies have also shown that not only do runners tend to get stronger joint cartilage but they are at less of a risk for requiring hip replacements than those who walk for exercise.
That said, none of this means that problems won’t crop up. Such problems, like any sport, are often caused by overtraining. Make sure you are following safe running practices and not overdoing it to avoid unnecessary injuries!
Running is an Emotional Balance
This is somewhat hard to explain but running keeps me balanced. No matter what I am feeling on a day to day basis going for a run always makes me feel better. If I am overly excited about something then running burns off that excess energy and allows me to calm down and focus. If I am upset, angry or worried, running channels that energy into something more productive and allows for a positive release.
While running I can turn on my music and stop thinking. My mind has other things to think about. Sometimes I even come back with an idea or a solution to whatever was bothering me.
Running Can help you feel more Productive & Confident
It’s no secret that we are more productive when we are happy. It’s long been established that running and other aerobic exercises can stimulate the pleasure and reward receptors of our brains. The ‘runners high’ that people talk about? It’s a real thing. While it might not happen on every run, running does trigger the production of chemicals which make us feel happier and more creative.
These feelings often translate into being more energized which in turn makes us more productive. We feel good because we are getting more done and the act of doing something healthy can drastically improve self-esteem and confidence levels.
Running will help me be there for my children and Grandchildren
My entire body will get stronger. My lungs, heart and cardiovascular system will be stronger, my risk of cancer will be lower and it will help keep bone and back problems at bay. Running makes me a happier person which in turn makes me a better wife and mother. I am less stressed out, and therefore more patient and emotionally available.
And, if all of that wasn’t enough – scientific studies have shown that runners not only look younger as they grow older but seem to gain an average of 3.5 – 4.5 years to their life expectancy. Of all of the reasons, this one is probably the most motivation for me in my top 5 reasons to start running.