Bak Knows Best: Start Running Now!

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Start Running Now!

By Ryan Bak

Many of you are missing out on the benefits and pleasures of the pure and simple sport of running.  How many times do you see coaches telling athletes to go run laps for discipline or poor performance?  It’s unfortunate that many other sports have conditioned us to think of running as a punishment and not as a sport.  With spring in full swing it is the perfect time to cleanse that mindset and give running a try.

Here are a few reasons to start running now:

YOU CAN DO IT ANYWHERE & ANYTIME

You can run no matter where you are: on the streets, in a park, on a trail, near home, on a business trip, or on vacation.  You can also run anytime of day and anytime of year with the right clothing or access to a treadmill.  You can squeeze a run in early in the morning, during the lunch hour, after work, or even in the middle of the night if you are tossing and turning in bed.  You can do it on your time whenever it works best for your lifestyle.

GREAT WAY TO EXPLORE

Running is great way to explore the place that you live.  Not only can you discover the parks, trails, and wilderness, but you can also get a very different view of the streets that you drive on everyday and also explore the parts of town that aren’t part of your normal commute.  The slower pace of running compared to driving or biking, allows you to really take in the scenery and enjoy your surroundings.  Running is also one of the only sports that you can take with you now matter where you go while traveling.  All you need to do is pack a pair of running shoes and you can explore the new surroundings.  Running in a new city is one of my favorite ways to see the sights, and quickly learn my way around.

Great Way to Explore

Tumalo Falls near Bend, Oregon on a recent trail run.

RELATIVELY INEXPENSIVE

The only piece of equipment you need for running is a good pair of running shoes.  I recommend going to your local specialty running shop for a free gait analysis and fitting to learn about the best running shoes for your running biomechanics and body type.  There are no requirements on the types of clothing you run in, although breathable, moisture wicking materials are preferred for comfort, but there really aren’t any other vital pieces of equipment for a beginning runner beyond a good pair of shoes.  At times, you can even run barefoot on the sand, grass, or other soft surfaces and you won’t have any equipment requirements at all.  Just like any sport, you can invest more money into it if you chose to.  For example, you can purchase additional shoes for various terrain, clothing for all weather conditions, technical equipment like GPS watches and heart rate monitors, special nutritional products, race entry fees, and coaching services.  However, the barrier for entry is very minimal and the gadgets and gear are by no means a necessity to enjoy the sport.

Relatively Inexpensive

BOOSTS ENERGY

Do you often feel sluggish?  Try going for a run, because running can increase energy and fight off your fatigue or sluggishness.  Try running in the morning, which tends to provide a nice energy boost that can last throughout the day.  Running is a natural stimulant and it’s much better for you than another afternoon cup of coffee.  Running can also help encourage higher quality deep sleep, which can translate into waking more rested and full of energy for the day.

REDUCES STRESS

Run your stress away!  Nothing is better than getting out the door for a run and finding a great rhythm that relaxes your mind and your body.  Sometimes a run can allow you to forget about your worldly problems so that you can truly relax and be in the moment.  A solo run can provide some of the best time for thinking and reflection and you will often be able to use this time to formulate solutions to problems.  Running also boosts endorphin production and serotonin levels, which can lead to a feeling of “runner’s high.”  As a result, it shouldn’t’ be a surprise that running can help decrease anxiety and depression and can also help in treating addictions.

INCREASES STAMINA

Running regularly will increase your stamina.  This will help make workouts a little bit easier and as result, more enjoyable and productive.  Improved stamina will help you in other sports as well, by helping you to outlast your competition.   You will benefit from increased stamina in just about any other physical activity you take part in as well.

GOOD FOR YOU

Beyond simply boosting your energy levels and reducing your stress, running can also help build stronger muscles and bones, lower blood pressure, boost immunity to colds and viruses, and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and many types of cancer.  Running can also help you feel better about yourself.  Running may lead to weight loss and improved body image and beyond that, you can feel proud about your accomplishments and running records, creating higher self esteem and a new inspired you.  Factor all of this together, and there is a good chance that you will probably live longer too!

3_Good for you

Live longer and get a cake with too many candles.

If you’re already an active runner, please post comments to share more reasons why the non-runners among us should start running now.  Don’t forget to share this with your non-runner friends and get them involved in this great sport too!

Follow @RyanBak_yurbuds on Twitter andwww.RyanBakRunning.com for more tips.

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