When we look at the human body and how it is put together, we can see just how well adapted it is for running. From the shape of our feet and hips to the length of our legs we have evolved over time to become better and more efficient runners. Our legs and arms work in tandem to help power ourselves forward. We also have shock absorbers in between the vertebrae to reduce stress and pressure as we move.
Whether it be long distance or sprinting it cannot be denied we have features that make running come more easily to us than other mammals, and with running comes a long list of benefits both physical and psychological;
- Burning calories
- Increased strength and fitness levels
- Mental toughness
- Improved self confidence
- Lifted mood through elicit hormonal response which can help with problems such as depression and stress.
- Improved sleep
However, the general consensus about running can be that people are put off from participating in it as a sport. When we haven’t ran in a long time it can be quite brutal to pick ourselves up and set off for a run. We go out with the aim of doing 20 minutes and start off with great enthusiasm only to realise 2 minutes in, we’ve set off too fast and now the realisation, we may not be able to sustain it to the end kicks him. Home seems like a million miles away and already you want to give up. This is incredibly disheartening, and we don’t achieve much physically or mentally.
However, running can be a major tool for stress release – you can use it to meditate and off-load. It can be blissful. You can get a sense of freedom allowing you an opportunity to escape from other areas of life. In a recently published article The Longevity in Male and Female Joggers: The Copenhagen City Heart Study it was found that running for as little as 30 minutes just a few times a week can improve mood and decrease depression which in today’s society can be very useful. The question is how do we make it more enjoyable and avoid almost immediate disappointment.
How do we get these benefits?
Following a progressive plan and understanding the levels of exertion can help you start to enjoy running. This way you will progress both physically and mentally. Beginners should start off slow – even starting with 5-10 minutes a day is proven to be beneficial. Additionally, signing up to a local event such as a parkrun can be highly motivational as well as provide you with some accountability and reason to persist and drive forward towards your goal. There are some good Couch-5k Apps that will help set out suitable training plans. Alternatively, you could try out our beginners running guide.