6 Reasons To Be Thankful For Running
With the holiday season fast approaching, life can get really hectic, really fast. Between shopping for gifts, decorating the house, hosting friends and visitors, holiday parties, and participating in all the festive events and activities that clutter our calendars, it can be easy to forget to stop and just be thankful. The holidays can also be a very difficult time of year for many folks, and remembering our blessings can really help improve our perspective. As runners, we have LOTS to be thankful for! Check out our list below for reasons why you can be grateful to be a runner and have the sport of running in your life.
1. Physical Health Benefits
It’s easy to be thankful for the physical benefits that running provides. Running makes us look and feel strong. But running does more than just get and keep us in great shape. The positive effects of running on our cardiovascular health translate to long-term health benefits, which means runners are more likely than non-runners to not only live longer, but maintain their energy and well-being well into the later years of life. There is definitely something to be said for remaining active and being able to keep up with your children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren!
Short-term, running can help us maintain a healthy weight and body composition during those times of life when it might be harder to make healthy choices or find the time to make it to the gym or meal prep. (Let’s be thankful that running is FREE, doesn’t require a gym membership if you don’t have one, and can be done virtually anywhere and in most conditions, provided you have the proper attire). So, specifically during the upcoming holiday season when snacks and treats are at an all-time high, be thankful you can enjoy yourself and get out for a run later on to help keep some of that holiday weight gain at bay.
2. Mental Health Benefits
Running can really help our mental health, and has been proven to improve anxiety, depression, stress, and overall mental well being. An increased mood and less worrying? That’s definitely something to be thankful for! Running produces endorphins and helps regulate various brain chemicals, including serotonin and dopamine. Folks who suffer from surmounting stress, depression, and anxiety often have a low level of these brain chemicals, so running can help balance everything out.
Aside from improving your mood and helping you feel less worried and anxious, running has been proven to help your brain stay young – the long term result is a creative, working brain that remembers things better for much longer! And then there’s sleep. Running can help you calm down, fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer. When all else fails, be thankful for the little (or big!) things like a full 8 hours of sleep.
3. Starting Your Day Off Right
This one is aimed at those of us who’re strictly morning runners (though the same principles can certainly be applied to those who run in the evening). Sometimes that early alarm is HARD. The coziness of your warm bed begs you to stay put and get another hour or two of shut-eye, but starting your day out with a run can be the best way to make the rest of your day great! First off, we can be thankful that we even have the ability to get up and move our bodies before the rest of the world is awake. It allows us to see a few incredible sunrises, too, which is easy to be thankful for. But then there’s the domino effect that morning runs seem to have: once you get up and get your run in, you tend to feel more energized throughout the day, and one smart, healthy choice easily leads to another. Running first thing can really help increase your productivity, and you can be thankful that the rest of your day goes off a bit smoother.
4. The Running Community
This one is huge. The support and friendships that runners find within their respective running communities can be a huge blessing. Not only do these people hold us accountable to our runs, training, and to just bettering ourselves in general, but many folks find true friendships and a fantastic support system.
This kind of support goes beyond just encouraging PR’s, but can become your closest group of friends to be there for you when life ain’t so great, and to cheer you on when it is. And you can be thankful that running is the kind of support in which you can easily involve your children or family, so that you grow your running community and can connect and bond with those you love on a new level. Not to mention, many a runner has met their significant other through the sport of running . Now that’s DEFINITELY something to be thankful for!
5. A Great Way to Explore The World
Running is flexible. Thank goodness! We can be grateful that running is there for us when we travel and/or are on vacation. Running is a fabulous way to get out and see the world, and we can be grateful that it allows us this different perspective. Next time you’re out on a run, take in the sights, smells, and sounds. Whether it’s exploring new towns and cities on foot during your travels, or just around your own neighborhood, running can make us grateful in an entirely new, and more personal way of the world around u. Whether it’s beautiful architecture, the ocean, nature, etc.
6. New Memories and Experiences
Running helps us experience the world and travel to new places (one of the best ways to travel is to travel for destination races! Want to see New York? Chicago? The ocean? The mountains? Sign up for a race nearby and GO!) Some of these races or simple morning runs turn into some of the most treasured memories, and happen alongside a fantastic group of people who love running too. The entire racing experience in itself is just so much fun. We can be thankful for all the new memories and experiences that running and racing brings us. Not to mention, we can be grateful to have a sport that we just enjoy in general and look forward to each day.