Running as a hobby is recommended because it is beneficial in helping to improve health, helps you to meet new people and is versatile and relatively inexpensive. Running is also a useful tool in reducing stress and provides other psychological benefits. Running is a relatively easy hobby to take up. Running requires no new skills. You can begin running at any age with many people over 40 taking their first running steps as they embark on the path to health and a new and exciting hobby.
The cost to start running is low requiring only a good pair of running shoes and a supportive sports bra for women. No expensive equipment or gym membership is required to be a runner. You can run anywhere virtually year round. You can run almost any time of day or night that suits your preference. There are many social benefits from running. You can join a running club to meet new people, find a training partner, or simply to pick up running tips from others.
Running with a buddy can help strengthen the bond of friendship as well as provide the safety aspect of running in pairs.
If one runner gets sick or injured the second runner can assist. An attacker will be less likely to attack a pair of runners or a group of runners than a person running solo. Running clubs often host social runs and also serve as a team cheering squad during long runs. There are fundraising training groups such as the Arthritis Foundation’s Joints in Motion Training Team or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training, which will train you to run a half or full marathon in exchange for fundraising efforts.
Many organized races are fundraising events for local organizations such as schools and churches and national organizations such as Ronald McDonald House Charities, Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and Team RWB supporting America’s veterans. Not only will you be helping yourself with the gift of health but you will be supporting a great cause and helping others along the way with a portion of your entry fees being used for these charitable causes.
Running for leisure can help you to improve your health in many ways. It reduces the risk of heart attack by lowering your blood pressure and raising good cholesterol. Running helps reduce the risk for osteoarthritis because it is considered to be a weight bearing exercise which helps to increase bone density. Recent studies also show that it also helps in the fight against osteoarthritis because it helps increase oxygen flow and flushes toxins out of the body.
It is believed that the impact of running generates eight times your body weight as an impact on your joints and this is thought to increase the production of proteins in cartilage that makes your bones and joints stronger (Thomas, 2013). Running is a great method for helping you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Running helps burn calories in two ways; calorie expenditure during and immediately following the run and by building muscle. The calorie burn from running is approximately 600 calories per hour based on a six mile run at 10 minutes per mile.
To calculate the total calorie burn for running use a calculation method of . 75 x your weight in pounds (lbs. ) (Burfoot, 2005) . Muscle built and maintained by running also helps in all day calorie burn. Muscle burns calories and fat does not therefore the more muscle mass you build the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you will burn even at rest. Running is a great way to relieve stress and has been used by mental health experts to treat depression and addiction. Running for 20 to 30 minutes releases endorphins leading to a relaxed and peaceful feeling.
Longer distance running increases the release of endorphins and can lead to what is known as the “runner’s high”, a feeling of euphoria which is also often associated with completing an endurance event such as a half or full marathon. Running allows you to use the time on the trail to clear your head and think about issues that you are struggling with. Often times the problems that seemed daunting before a run can seem smaller or non-existent afterwards. Speed running or completing a few sprints are healthy ways to release the emotional negativity that comes with anger and frustration as long as it is done safely.
The positive energy from overcoming obstacles of completing a run in a certain amount of time or meeting the goal of completing a distance run can provide mental benefits of helping you to learn about your personal strength and mental focus. This new found self-confidence and knowledge about yourself can also be transferred to other areas of your life and help you cope with issues in a healthy way. Whether you are running to lose weight, running alone or with a group, running away from stress, no matter the reason, the road to better health begins when you decide to lace up a pair of shoes and put on foot in front of the other.