The Answer to the Question Why Do You Run
I am asked quite a bit about why I run. Often the question is accompanied by a comment about how running is bad for you and that I should take up another activity. Perhaps if I explain why it is so important to me, maybe you will find that running is a great activity for just about anyone.
To start, I am still pretty new to this whole running thing, so my “running” program is really a “run-walk” program. This method of running was designed by US Olympian Jeff Galloway back in 1973 especially as a way to help beginners start running. However, even veterans to running use the method and have found that strategic walk breaks allow runners to control fatigue and reduce injuries.
I had been on and off with a consistent workout routine for some time prior to rediscovering running (my mom used to run/jog back in the day and would take me with her). I had gained quite a bit of weight, too, which I was finding tough to lose. Today, I am still not as consistent as I would like to be, but I improve every day and that gives me the motivation to keep going.
Why I run
1. Obviously, my running program has helped me to lose 35 pounds over the past six months. As a dietitian, I know that a combination of a healthful diet and regular exercise are the key to being successful with weight loss. Eating right and having the excess weight gone has also benefitted my running program, making it a win-win all the way around.
2. I run for my long-term health. In my family, heart disease and diabetes are prevalent and I am at risk for both. Walking and running help me keep my heart healthy and my blood sugar in check.
3. I suffer from depression and anxiety and several studies suggest that exercise helps with both. Not only does the actual physical exertion help, but I also find the satisfaction of crossing the finish line a great boost to my self-confidence. I also have ADD and the structure of a training program has helped me learn to be organized and productive in other areas of my life as well.
4. I’m a loner. I have tried classes, such as yoga or aerobics. I’m just uncomfortable there. I’m not a “team sports” person either (no real talent). I like the solitude of running. I do love other solo sports as well, such as cycling and swimming, but running is just so much more convenient to my life.
5. Running is my “me” time. As a working mom, I find much of my day is comprised of taking care of the needs of others. At first I felt really guilty about taking time out for myself. But now I realize that 30 minutes to one hour away actually makes me a better mom. And I absolutely love the smiles I see on my girls faces at the finish line on Saturday.
6. Speaking of kids, I do very much relish the fact that I am setting a good example for mine the same way my mom did for me. My oldest daughter participated for two years in Girls on the Run and glowed when she completed her first 5K. My youngest loves to take me out and run sprints up and down in front of my house (trust me, this is out of my comfort zone, but it has helped me tremendously).
You do not have to love running as much as I do, but I encourage you to find something physical that you enjoy. If you don’t love it, you won’t find time to do it.