Running is one of the most natural and pure systems for developing balance in your body. There are also a host of other benefits that running can bring to your body and mind, including physical fitness, mood enhancing, stress relief, and an overall feeling of wellbeing.
Humans have been running for a very long time. Our physiology has evolved to be highly specific and highly functional runners.
Consider these reasons why you should start running:
- Running strengthens your feet. There might not be a better exercise for developing strong and coordinated foot patterns. Your feet are built like springs, but without proper training, they lose their elasticity. In some cases, this means you could actually lose some of your strength and power when you are pushing through your feet on squats and deadlifts. A strong base is a strong lift. Running can help to provide you with a strong base of support and elastic-like tensegrity in the feet.
- Running is great for alignment. Assuming you have half-decent running form, your jogging is going to be great for alignment. The average person sits for about 6 hours a day. Without standing and running, your body may become accustomed to slouching and back pain. Slowly moving into more running can be one of the most effective ways to improve your posture and train your muscles to fire properly.
- Running is euphoric. Think back to when you were a kid: running around and playing outside was likely the most fun you’ve ever had. This same experience can come back as long runs provide a literal high that leads to a euphoric state. On top of having an amazing experience, you are conditioning the body to better utilize oxygen and improving your body composition.
- Running is easy to moderate and improve. Cardio training like running is one of the easiest styles of training to make progressions in. There are really only two basic premises – intensity and duration. Either you run longer at a lower intensity or you run shorter distances at a higher intensity. Making progressions is as simple as running longer at higher intensities and working up to greater paces.
- Running takes you back to your roots. Many people will even make the most of their runs by wearing barefoot shoes. If this is your preferred method, ensure that you work into this slowly, as modern shoes have shaped your feet for some time. Strengthening your feet to work effectively in a barefoot setting will take time, but the rewards will be drastic.
What if You’re Strength Training?
In the world of strength training, many people are afraid to go running. They fear that, by running, they will lose muscle mass and may forfeit some of their strength.
Does this idea have any validity? In other words, could running really put a damper on your strength returns?
Yes and no.
Running is a type of training that requires the same form of energy that your weight training uses, especially if you’re running at a high intensity or for a very long duration.
So, if you are a strength athlete, you might want to avoid very long distances, as it will put stress on the joints (in excess of your weight training) and it would dissolve some nutrients you need for weight training.
Running for short distances, however, can still provide you with some great benefits.
So, whether you go to the gym, don’t go to the gym, or you’re strength-training, running can benefit you in many ways.
Give those running shoes a workout! Start running today and reap the rewards.