This is my second year training for the half marathon. The half marathon is a great way to get started with running, because it’s a big race and a big accomplishment, but it’s still very manageable for beginners. Running was my 2018 New Year’s Resolution (hey, I kept it!) and it wasn’t the most enjoyable activity, but the rewards were so great.
Like a lot of other people, I hate running. I really do.
That feeling you get running—your legs hurt, you’re out of breath, you have a side stitch, and you’re insanely bored—is a daily struggle. It makes you dread exercise and you just want to be a couch potato the rest of your life. Trust me, it’s normal.
But despite the misery, I keep running. And here’s why:
It Makes Me Feel Better, Physically
Exercise in general improves how your body feels. Moving around improves circulation, muscle tone and body function. Oxygen is more available to the body’s cells and so in return, you feel energized! It seems a bit backwards—exercising provides you with more energy!
I love the way I feel after a long run! I’m exhausted (in the best way possible) and my muscles are happy —not kidding. My muscles have performed their best and served their purpose, which improves how you feel. It’s hard to put into words, but your body really does appreciate being able to move.
It Makes Me Feel Better, Mentally
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. Also known as ‘Happy Hormones’, endorphins improve your mood and how you feel mentally. Runners often experience a “high” during and after a hard run, and this is due to the endorphins circulating in the brain. Running can help decrease stress and anxiety, which left untreated (aka being a couch potato) can cause more problems for the body!
Before a run, I feel tired, depressed, and often annoyed for no reason. I don’t feel like running at all—in fact I dread it. But after a run, I feel like I am capable of anything. I am proud of the distance I’ve run or goal I’ve accomplished, and excited to do even better next time. I am more optimistic, more outgoing, and have more self-confidence, all thanks to the endorphins produced.
It Improves Sleep
When I’ve exercised or had a good workout, it improves my sleep habits tremendously. It takes hardly any time at all for me to fall asleep and the quality of sleep is much better. I don’t toss and turn all night and I feel completely rested when I wake up.
Running plus diffusing Lavender and Cedarwood at night has improved my sleep routine so much! I will never go back to using Melatonin or ZzzQuil to fall asleep. Running is a completely natural and healthy way to sleep better.
It Improves Appetite and Eating Habits
If you struggle with appetite or making healthy food choices, running can change that. Exercise causes the release of hunger hormones—Ghrelin—which stimulates appetite. In return, you want to eat! Just be sure you’re making good choices.
Even though we’re all still indulging in our post-Christmas candy bags, be sure to eat a well-rounded diet with plenty of lean meat and vegetables. (This is even easier to do when you feel accomplished and proud of yourself for running!) You can still enjoy your holiday favorites while eating a healthy diet.
Basically, the benefits far outweigh the difficulty. To me, running is miserable in the moment but so rewarding in the end. I hate running but I still do it because it makes me feel so much better, and you should too!
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