It’s much more than just a way to stay in shape.
I started seriously running late last summer. Before then, I 100% used to be that kid that would do anything they could to get out of doing cross country in P.E. And I’m still not exactly what you’d call athletic now (I’m so clumsy that falling over is affectionately known amongst my friends as ‘pulling an Emily’.) But running is far more than just a way to keep me in shape that doesn’t involve uncomfortable male gazes in the gym. It’s really helped me manage my mental health, and it could do the same for you, too.
Fresh air is the best medicine
Admittedly, this would have been a hard one to sell during winter. Freezing temperatures, muddy fields and rain don’t exactly draw you in. But now summer is on its way (and global warming has lent a weird helping hand) the trees are greener and the air is warmer and its a whole lot more of a pleasant atmosphere. Half an hour outside in the sun works wonders, and if you find a nice park route you’re very likely to run into a few dogs out for their afternoon walk – in my opinion, that’s more than enough incentive.
It’s a great stress relief
When I’m having a bad day, falling out with a friend or just needing to escape for a while, “I’m going for a run” are the words most likely to come out of my mouth. Going full pelt listening to whatever angry music takes your fancy (my current favourite is Ariana Grande) is a great way to relieve some of the tension. You can rehearse your comebacks in an imaginary argument, pretend you’re literally running all over that one person you hate or just run away from stress for a while. Whatever you use it for, I promise it works.
It’s okay to start small
When I started running, I could barely make it ten minutes without stopping dead, hands on my knees and feeling like I was about to cough up a lung. Now, I’m still not exactly Olympic medal material, but I can keep up a steady pace and going for a run when I wake up is genuinely something I look forward to. The point is, even if you start off walking, the effect is still the same. Next time the rain holds off, go and give it a try.
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