Chances are you’ve got a million reasons not to run today – bad weather, not enough time, horrible shoes, or just the fact that you’ve got like 5 shows to watch on Netflix – but trust me, there’s at least a dozen reasons you should grab your running shoes and start right now.
#1. Running works like a drug.
Nothing helps convince people of a good time quite like an opiate. Running gives you a similar cocktail of effects, starting with endorphins, and continuing with a number of neurotransmitters – things like dopamine and serotonin, causing what’s popularly referred to as a “Runner’s High”. It’s not just a temporary effect – these same neurotransmitters have been shown to reduce depression and anxiety.
#2. Your heart will thank you for it.
Running, even for just a few minutes a day, is still one of the best ways to flex your heart harder and make it beat longer – but beware of taking it to extreme-athlete levels. Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing.
#3. Your weight will thank you for it.
But no matter how much you run, one thing is for sure – you’ll be losing weight. Abs are sure sculpted in the kitchen, but when it comes to movement there isn’t anything as effective in shedding fat as high-intensity cardiovascular exercise – in other words, lots of fast running in short bursts.
#4. Heck, even your bust will thank you for it.
Turns out, women who engage in “sweat-inducing” exercise are 30-40% less likely to develop breast cancer – and the statistics aren’t singularly relevant to women. Men, too, have a reduced risk of cancer so long as they exercise regularly, running included.
#5. It’s an excellent way to make more friends.
Running is a surprisingly great environment to meet other people. On the street, in the gym, between the bushes in the park – wherever you’re running, you’re bound to cross paths with another interesting runner. Who knows? Maybe your next best friend is currently running laps around your block.
#6. It’s a great way to discover your neighborhood.
We tend to take for granted what’s right under our noses, but chances are you know less about your neighborhood (and its neighbors) than you think you do. Going out for a leisurely stroll may mean finding a view you never noticed before, meeting someone you’d never have met, or seeing something you’d never see in your busy schedule. It gives you the time to connect with your home, and actually observe the world you live in.
#7. You’ll sleep better.
It works two-fold – you sleep better when you’re exhausted, and running will make you want to sleep longer! Making time for ourselves is something a lot of people neglect, and that usually turns into regret. If you find the time to run a little bit every day, chances are you’ll manage your time well enough to get some decent shut-eye – your body will definitely thank you for it.
#8. You’ll have more energy.
It sounds contradictory to spend energy to have more, but it’s pretty much a researched fact that a bit of exercise works better than a Red Bull or a double espresso – not to mention that it’s a lot healthier. If you live a sedentary lifestyle (meaning you don’t move much or exercise at all), then a bit of physical activity will almost guarantee a boost in energy. Starting a running habit? You’ll be wide awake in the mornings.
#9. You’ll feel better about yourself.
It might sound ridiculous at first, but one of the absolute biggest pros to running is that you’ll just straight feel good. Not just biologically, but about yourself. You’ll be more energetic, less anxious, more focused and your self-esteem will practically shoot through the roof. Why? Because you’ll be doing something to challenge yourself in ways you haven’t before, and to that end, you’ll prove yourself more capable than you would’ve thought. Every single day a little more.
#10. Run to escape the drag for just a moment.
Although it might sound like you’re running away from something, you’re actually running towards something else – clarity. Exercise is a form of meditation, and gives our minds the initiative to clear out a bit, gain some perspective. When things feel like they’re becoming too much, go out for a run. You’ll feel better. And chances are, you’ll have the state of mind it takes to cope with your situation.
#11. Run to find your drive in life.
When you’re not running to fend off the stress, then you’ll find that running gives you the time you need to set your priorities straight, connect with nature and yourself, and find out what it is you want to do. We’ve all got our passion, and when it seems like yours is slipping away, there are few things that help you get that back like a good ol’ run.
#12. And if that didn’t convince you, then run for your partner!
Or even better, run with your partner! Working out in pairs is always better, because you can spot each other, exploit all that nice positive affirmation, and get fit together! Nothing hones a good relationship like working towards a goal together, and what better, easier way to do that than challenge each other to complete a marathon as a couple?