Results of a study comparing the benefits and risks of running were recently released. In it researchers found that the repeated pressure on the joints, as well as the monotonous nature of the sport can lead to lifelong pain and an overall decrease in life expectancy. By studying runners and non-runners over a 20 year span, researchers noticed one thing in particular, the individuals that ran at least 10 miles a week suffered with overwhelming bouts of depression and tended to be more reclusive in the last stages of their lives. It is believed that since running can tend to be a lackluster experience at best, most individuals eventually allowed the monotony of running to seep into their lives. In addition, many of the runners expressed concerns about their overall health and often feelings of despair as a result of decreased confidence.
On the other hand, the individuals that did not run experienced a more fulfilling life. Since much more time was given to activities such as watching television and the opportunity to indulge in meals of their choice, many non-runners felt at peace. Their lack of goals in terms of health provided minimal stress because their fear of failure was all but obsolete. Moreover, confidence in these individuals soared at high levels and many expressed no desire to run.
I am sure many non-runners would love to believe this is true. Unfortunately, it is a fabrication of a person that has only felt the many advantages of running. I once believed that running was unnecessary and provided no obvious benefits, that is, until I became a runner.
I have heard time and again from non-runners that running is boring. Yes, it is, if you are not running for the right reasons. If you go out and run without a goal in mind, a specific objective, then I am sure running can be boring. But, if you are running with specific goals at the forefront of your mind then running can be a life changing experience. The point is to always have an objective and think about it as you run so that it keeps you motivated. Also, try and look at running as an opportunity to listen to yourself and the thoughts swirling in your head. Dissect your thoughts and find ways to solve any possible problems or concerns, because this will allow all the stress in your life to dissipate.
Running does wonders for your overall emotional health. I have never spoken to a runner that says they feel more depressed or stressed about things in their life after a run. It is nearly impossible to feel dejected after completing a long run, even if you don’t finish. The most important thing is that you give a complete effort.
In addition, running provides a great opportunity to take control of your physical health and appearance, which leads to an increase in confidence. Not only will you have more energy, but you will look and feel great. There will be times when you may be sore or an injury will occur, but all you will be thinking about is when you will be able to run again. Running leads to a happier demeanor and a greater outlook on life. The further you run the more you begin to realize that anything is possible and putting limitations on yourself is unnecessary.
I am sure a life without goals and challenges can still be fulfilling. But, having specific goals in mind with the ability to exceed them makes life a little more exciting. I’d much rather be healthy, happy and confident than be unhealthy, unhappy and living with limitations. I am not saying everyone needs to run. I am saying it is important to find something that will challenge you and make your life more fulfilling. Run life. Don’t let life run you.
By Raul Alanis