There are so many reasons why I think you should give running a try. Here are a few: no monthly fees, you can do it anywhere, you can start at any level, it makes you feel good, it’s alone time, it’s friend time, no one is in your face yelling at you, an extra bowl of ice cream, to breath fresh air, to improve your cardiovascular fitness, build stronger bones…I can keep going.
And then there’s those reasons why you might say you can’t run: you can barely walk to the mailbox (ha-ha, a joke we’ve all heard), you don’t have time with work, you don’t have time with kids, you get shin-splints, you don’t like working out alone, you don’t know where to run, you can’t breathe when you run, you don’t want to ruin your blow out, or you just don’t like running…well I can’t help you with that one, instead, go ahead and click here: SoulCycle or Equinox.
Here is a list of 10 reasons why I think you should run.
1. Running is cheap– Running is a very cheap sport/way to stay healthy. Sure, you have to pay for shoes which can run anywhere between $50 to $150, but after an initial visit with a running shoe specialist as I mentioned in a separate post, you can find great deals online. Running clothes, which need to be sweat wicking will be an initial fee as well, but once you’ve purchased a few tops, shorts, and socks, you will be good to go. Don’t feel the need to purchase brand names such as Lululemon or Nike right off the bat. Target has much more affordable options such as the C9 line. There are no fees to walk out the door and start running. If you live in an apartment or more urban area where you may not have the option of walking out the door and start running, there may be a park nearby where runners are welcomed.
2. Running is a great way to meet people- I’ve been running for about 10 years now, and through the sport, I have met some really great people. I know people who have built solid friendships, such as Kelli and her best friend Landi, and even relationships through the sport. If you move to a new city, one of the best ways to meet people is to join a running group, even if you aren’t a runner! Running groups are broken into groups based on pace, so you will always have someone at your level. I met some ladies I really admire and respect on my trip to Greece to run the Athens Marathon, as well as my running buddies Manos and Alex.
3. Running allows you to spend time outdoors– Remember when you played outside from the moment you woke up to the moment it was dinner time? That pretty much sums up my childhood. Unfortunately, as adults we get caught up with work and other obligations which has us finding ourselves indoors most of the time. When you run outside, you feel the wind, you hear the birds, you see the things you don’t notice as you are driving by in a car. There is a bridge that I run across in Memorial Park, that is surrounded by native Texas plants. One of my favorite reasons to run across that bridge is the scent of the plants that line the perimeter. It’s just not the same as being inside a fitness studio.
4. Running burns calories and helps you lose weight- The amount of calories you burn varies based on your weight as well as how much muscle you have. Many experts claim that running one mile, regardless of your pace, will burn approximately 100 calories. If you run and lower your caloric intake, it’s a great recipe for weight loss. If you run, or even run and walk five miles, you burn about 500 calories. There are 3,500 calories in one pound of fat, therefore if you do this six days a week, you can lose nearly a pound per week. Lower your daily caloric intake by 500 calories, and that’s nearly two pounds per week.
5. Running can be family time- Some women say “You just don’t have time to workout with kids.” I don’t have kids, but I know plenty of women who are at home with their kids or work a 9 to 5, and still manage to run or workout. I grew up in a neighborhood in northwest Houston called Copperfield. There was a family that lived across the street from me that I always admired. The dad would rollerblade as the mom would jog with two kids in a stroller. I always hoped that I would one day have a family like that. I have girlfriends who are single moms and take their children to the park to run with them. It CAN be done. This not only gives you the time to run, but it sets a great example for your children as well as giving you the time to bond with your child. In my professional opinion, being outdoors is also so crucial for a healthy child in so many ways (that’s another topic).
6. Running improves cardiovascular fitness- Do you know the number one killer of women in the U.S.? Heart disease. Running is an excellent form of aerobic exercise, which strengthens your heart. Consistent aerobic exercise also boosts your HDL, the “good” cholesterol, and lowers your LDL, the “bad” cholesterol. This may lower the amount of plaques that are built up in your arteries, which can lead to heart disease. A stronger heart, also means a heart that does not have to work hard. Having a lower resting heart rate is one indication of a heart that isn’t struggling with blood flow. My resting heart rate has been 52 BPM for a number of years now; my goal is to get it to 50.
7. Running is a friendly sport- I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I didn’t start off as a great runner. I began with running and walking and actually still enjoy taking a week or two from time to time, to alternate between running and walking. I recently went to a spin class at a local spin/fitness studio, and although it’s fun and the energy in the room is up, I can see how un-motivating and even intimidating a class like this could be. You have the more advanced spinners in the front, getting up out of the saddle, doing the dip thing they do, while the struggling riders in the back are probably just counting down the minutes until the lights come back on. I enjoy competition, but even for me, it was a bit intense. I didn’t like that I was pushing harder than I should, simply because the girl next to me was pedaling faster. With running, you are competing against yourself and there is no pressure to beat anyone.
8. Running strengthens your bones- Nearly 80% of U.S. cases of osteoporosis are found in women. Another scary statistic is that after the age of 50, about one in two women will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis. Running is an excellent form of weight-bearing exercise that aids in the formation of new bone as well as slowing down the loss of existing bone. Although swimming, spinning, and machine workouts can improve aerobic fitness, these low impact exercises aren’t as helpful in improving bone health as weight-bearing exercises such as running or even hiking. So all that pounding you may have thought is bad for your bones, actually benefits them.
9. Runners raise money- So many of us have causes that are near-and-dear to our hearts whether it’s cancer prevention, child welfare, education, animals, this list goes on and on. I know so many amazing women, and men, who have raised hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for a loved one through a race. Many of these people didn’t even consider themselves to be runners! Running a race can be such an exciting way to celebrate your accomplishment of the money you raised. Every step you take as you train, as well as run on race day, is a reminder of the help you are giving to whatever cause you have selected. My very first race, the 2007 Aramaco Houston Half Marathon I raised $1,500 for Texas Children’s Hospital, as I had spent some time volunteering there as a Patient Pal while in college. Choose a cause and make that the reason you start. It’s a win-win situation!
10. Running gives you a sense of pride- I can guarantee you one thing when it comes to running, if you start running tomorrow, as the weeks go by, you will only get better. If you have to start off walking, then that’s great! Within a few months, I assure you, you will be running. Each week brings a new sense of accomplishment and that gives you a great sense of pride. I can’t lie, I take pride when I tell people how many marathons I’ve run, and even more so when I let them know I have run the Boston Marathon. It’s not bragging, it’s showing pride in the fact that I had discipline, dedication, and determination. After the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, I set a goal to re-qualify for the Boston Marathon, and that October, I did just that. I felt SO proud of myself. Running defines who I am. As we get older, we can lose a sense of who we are. This I know is especially true for women who have children, I hear this from my own friends. In the chaos of home/work life, running can give you a sense of pride in saying “I am a mom and a runner,” or “I am a teacher and a runner.” One of my favorite students I have taught, Lucie, once said to me “I don’t know who you would be if you weren’t a runner!” I felt so proud at that moment to know that my 10 year old student not only looked at at me as her teacher, but a dedicated runner.
Are you interested in running yet?! I hope so. Leave me a comment to let me know why you want to start.