I’ve recently written a get-to-know-me piece to promote my blog and in it, I looked back on my running days. To be honest, I miss them. It’s great to revisit the benefits of running.
How I started running
I am no runner. But in the past, I gradually worked up from smaller runs. Finding running helped my mental health and it became addictive, to set my mind free and achieve the goals I set for myself.
I don’t look at all like a typical runner. Was considered overweight for each of the 10k races (verified by a doctor for some medication I was taking) and physically I wasn’t in the best shape to take on the challenge.
But mind over matter prevailed. It became more about the mental health benefits rather than fitness. I felt free when I ran and my anxiety was reduced.
My running achievements
Conquering not one, but two 10k races, I am immensely proud of myself. It was one of the toughest challenges, simply because it did not come easy to me and in all honesty, I didn’t train enough for either race. But I did it! And I still have the medals on display. My little one plays dress-up with my Race For Life, 5k medals. Who knows, maybe we will dress up and do one together to honour my family members taken too soon by cancer. I think she would love it and it would be great for me to look back fondly on a part of my life I loved.
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I wanted to discuss some of the great benefits of running
My exercise routine now
I would love to get back into running, just for the mental health benefits alone. However, as a busy mum with little time to spare, exercise videos on YouTube are more my thing these days. I recently posted a TikTok about me and my little one dancing together. We have agreed to do it more as a family, in order to get fit.
I will be honest and say the thought of running again is daunting. We live on a canal path and I regularly see runners and think about how they do it. However, whilst I was in the midst of my running days, confidence wasn’t an issue. I had the drive and motivation to get out there and help myself mentally. Anything else, certainly worrying about what other people thought, didn’t matter.
Maybe you want to read about other runners and their stories…
Improves your health
Studies have shown running can lower blood pressure, improve blood sugar control, and lower cholesterol. Also reducing body fat percentage. Improving these markers of health can reduce disease risk and help you feel healthier overall.
Is accessible and cheap
When I was younger, I held several gym memberships. These days, it isn’t practical for us to pay £20-£50 per adult. For a gym membership, we might not get much use out of it. There are plenty of free activities you can do if you want to improve your overall physical health. Starting from inside your home, to just around the corner. You just have to be creative.
Running connects you to nature
Most of the places I used to run involved being at one with nature. Some of the amazing parks and reservoirs I visited during this time are places me and my family return to now. I wouldn’t have known about them had I not started my running journey.
Improves your sleep
John Hopkins Medical Center found cardiovascular exercise helps you fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality. I often struggle to fall asleep at night due to my anxiety issues. But exercising in the early evening used to make me sleep a lot better.