More often than not, when you cannot do something, it makes you want to do it more. How many times to do you not have the motivation to go for your run or gym session? Then, the second you can’t go, it is all you want to do?! You crave the feeling of running, and you are envious of those around you exercising.
It’s totally normal to take exercising for granted when we have the ability to do it day in day out. But something that becomes even more apparent when I see athletes not able to run, is the relationship between their running and their mental health.
When you Google “mental health and running” the below comes up:
- Running regularly at a moderate or vigorous level can improve your mental health.
- Multiple studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise and primarily jogging reduces the symptoms of clinical depression. And according to studies cited by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, running and other forms of vigorous exercise can reduce anxiety symptoms and help you relax.
- Running assists the body in producing neurotransmitters in the brain that literally boost one's mood. Increased dopamine and serotonin simply help improve outlook and mood and, in some cases, can offer critical relief to those dealing with symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Makes sense to me! Everyone has different stresses in life. Whether these are stemming from work, family, or a global pandemic, they will occur and challenge your mental wellbeing. Working on your mental health doesn’t need to be taboo or expensive. It can be as simple of doing something that you enjoy or that is good for you. Running is a perfect example here.
Our coached sessions at InnerFight are just as much about bringing people together in the community as they are about getting the work done. Yes, we want you to try, to improve, to hit PBs and goals, but we also want you to be better at life. If this means coming to a session for the social aspect and surrounding yourself with likeminded individuals, then we are more than happy with this. It’s not about being the best or the fastest, from my point of view it's about giving you an hour in your day that is fulfilling and rewarding. You might use a session to escape a hectic household, or to mull over a problem at work, or to catch up with a friend.
For me running after work (when I had an office-based job) was my way of de-stressing and clearing my head, it just so happened that it was also my daily exercise and my commute. Running has brought so much more to my life than some PBs and splits. From the people I have met to the experiences I have had, there are simply too many positive memories to list them all.
Going for a run doesn’t need to be lonely, boring, long, or fast. You can walk, jog, and chat. I encourage you to give it a go, like properly try it. If this means committing to a group session, embrace it!
And to those who sit and watch and say I’m mental for running so much, I beg to differ.
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