We all know that running is great for the body, but are there benefits that extend into other areas? Can running have a positive effect on your character and how you experience life?
First, let’s have a look at some of the physical benefits:
- Improves joint and bone health
- Helps to reduce the risk of disease including cancer
- Boosts metabolism
Those who run on a regular basis can confirm that this type of exercise has many physical benefits. But running is also great for you mentally and emotionally, ultimately having an effect on your character. Running allows you to challenge yourself and to find and release certain individual character qualities.
Below are some ways running can help you to become stronger in both your body and mind, making you a better person. There are many veteran runners out there that can confirm how running has actually helped and transformed their characters in some form or another.
Running can help to improve Mental Strength
Many take up running after various health scares, which helps them recover or can slow down the disease process. After a while, they find that not only is it helping them physically, but there are many other rewards and benefits. Running can help build perseverance as well as confidence, as you notice results. By continuing and overcoming the initial difficulty of developing a running routine, you feel you can overcome all obstacles.
Another example – imagine having to move from one city to another. A place where you don’t know anybody, a stranger in an unknown environment. This story will resonate with many, including Alice. Her husband got a job in another city and she had to move with him to a new and different place. One of the things she regularly does is run and this is what helped her through the moving transition. Running had helped her build her strength both physically as well as mentally, thereby enabling her to adapt much faster and more easily.
Finding clarity when things go wrong
Running can be something that helps you cope with various life challenges. Think about stressful situations, like those who serve in the armed forces. There are many other instances where depression, stress and anxiety can overwhelm you. Can running help? Yes, there have been those who are going through these painful experiences but confirm that running has helped them cope.
The routine and focus it takes to run can help you to find clarity and peace in challenging circumstances. Running can become a sort of coping mechanism, which is far better than turning to alcohol or drugs.
Running helps you to adapt to change
Sometimes, you might lose control of something in your life, it could be a health issue or other circumstance. In these cases, you don’t have a choice with what is happening to you or around you. This was a case for Sarah (name changed for privacy), who wasn’t a runner, to begin with. But after suffering a health condition that caused blindness in her right eye, she decided to focus on her health more. So, she began a running routine and has kept on ever since.
She is now healthier and has even lost quite a bit of weight in the process. She also has no more health issues and has completed a few marathons since then. She is so confident in what running has done for her that she now tries to get as many friends and colleagues to join her. Running, therefore, helps you to adapt to difficult circumstances, giving you something you can focus on. By choosing to make a positive change, you are helping to overcome any feelings of helplessness.
Confidence Boosting through running
Running is a great way to build confidence. When running, you have to set goals, and this gives you a sense of achievement when you reach what you set out to do. While running, you are focusing on yourself and on the moment. Your improved health, appearance and mood are all confidence boosting. When you start to take care of yourself, you also become better at dealing with everything else in your life.
Running Encourages Creativity
While running, specifically on a familiar route, you can let your mind wander. This puts you in a position to think more creatively, a great way to improve problem-solving skills. Studies show that any moderate aerobic exercise increases a person’s creative potential. This can be seen directly after a workout as well as a few hours later.
So, running can, therefore, increase mental clarity and provides an uninterrupted time where you can think and come up with solutions to various problems. Many runners also claim that their thoughts feel a bit sluggish if they miss their daily run.
Form Friendships through running
We all know that running produces a feel-good mood, which is caused by certain hormones released in the body. This positive attitude and feeling can also affect those around you. You might be a solitary runner, even if it is in a race, you will notice the friendliness and support runners provide each other. You will always find a runner assisting another if the need arises.
For many, the comradery is what attracts them to running. There’s time before a race to chat with your fellow runners while waiting to start. Even during the race, you might find those who encourage you and with whom you can strike up a conversation. The entire running community is supportive, with a positive outlook, attracting many who wish to also experience this type of community.
Most runners will have experienced some challenging races, not finishing, having to leave a race due to injury even after hours of hard training. Running does have its challenges, these above as well as things like bad weather or difficult terrain. All these things can have a humbling effect, no matter what level of runner you are. Each runner has setbacks, but ultimately these difficulties help to build your strength and resilience. These hardships you overcome while running can help you with those difficulties that happen in your everyday life.