Running for Health and Happiness

We all know that regular cardio workouts are great for the body. They help us to lose weight, improve stamina and also to build and strengthen muscles in certain parts of the body. There is also research to suggest that cardio exercise can help you to live longer, decrease your risk of developing arthritis and lower your potential for suffering from diabetes. As well as the amazing fitness benefits that running provides, it can also be fantastic for your mental health. It is thought to promote happiness for many different reasons and can really help to grow your sense of well-being.

Running is an activity that the majority of people can get involved in. It is simple to learn how to do, it is incredibly low-cost and there are literally countless places to do it! People will find all sorts of different excuses not to get a started with running. This is usually because they feel they are too busy or have no interest in improving their health, or perhaps they are worried about their performance. However, it is important to remember that when you run you are doing so for yourself, there is no competition and nobody is judging your efforts.

If people knew how their happiness could also benefit from this exercise than perhaps more people would be willing to give it a try. When you run your body releases endorphins which make you feel great. The primary purpose of endorphins is to alleviate pain in the body, but they also work to improve your mood. Even if you do not enjoy the process of running as you are doing it, the feeling you will get afterwards will more than compensate. It is this feeling that will follow you through the rest of your day and will be your incentive to continue running regularly.

As long as you start slow and with short distances, there is nothing stopping you from experiencing the uplifting mood benefits for yourself. A great way to get started is to buy yourself a stopwatch and try running for one minute and then walking for one minute. Do this over and over again for the duration of your workout. You can then build this up to running for two minutes and walking for one minute. As you continue with your workouts you can keep increasing the amount of time that you run for, you will quickly notice how your performance and your confidence in your own ability improves and grows.

If you are engaging in cardio exercises in a gym then it is much easier to keep track of your progress then if you are running outside. The treadmill will tell you how far you have run, how long it has taken you, and also other useful things, such as your heart rate and the amount of calories you have burned during your workout. Having access to all of this information is great for encouraging you to increase your efforts and also for being able to track how well you are improving over time.

Many people find that they enjoy running on their own, especially if they have their favourite up-beat tracks playing through their headphones as they go. However, running with a friend or several friends is an amazing way to motivate yourself and have fun at the same time. When you turn running into a social get together for you and your friends, you boost the happiness benefits of this exercise. This is because you will enjoy interacting with your companions whilst you all get fit together. You will find that you are much less likely to cancel a scheduled run if you know that other people are counting on you being there to join them. This is also a great way to always fit exercise into your week if you have a busy schedule. You can tick catching up with your friends and your run off your to-do list in one go! 

To really get the most out of your run, do it first thing in the morning so that you are energised and elevated until the evening. However, it can also be beneficial in the evening in order to detox your mind of all the negative interactions and emotions you have experienced during the day.

Your improved health after becoming a frequent runner will be an additional reason for improved happiness. You will feel stronger and more empowered which can dramatically enhance your attitude and self-image. As you continue to run you will naturally get better at it and be able to go for longer distances. This sense of setting a goal and reaching it will encourage a greater sense of accomplishment throughout other areas of your life and help you to believe in the notion that anything is possible!

References

1) http://www.howardluksmd.com/orthopedic-social-media/running-the-best-medicine/

2) http://www.active.com/running/articles/5-reasons-running-makes-you-happier

3) http://strengthrunning.com/2015/10/pursuit-of-running-goals-lifelong-happiness/