10 reasons why you should take up running this new year

Planning to get started don a ‘new you’ in 2021? Here are 10 reasons why you should take up running this new year.

Did you notice how many people took up running in 2020? Have you thought about running but felt it is something beyond your reach? Do you think of all the reasons why you can’t do it instead of all the reasons why you should!

Maybe it’s time to reconsider and start this new year with a new challenge.  If you need a little more convincing on getting those trainers out, check out our Top 10 reasons to run… 

1) You can ‘Just Do It’

Maybe this is where Nike got their slogan from – because with running, you can ‘just do it’. You will find that as you do a few runs, you will want to learn more and have better gear. 

We can help you with that. But to start, you don’t need to master any technique or practice – just put on some trainers and move forwards.

2) You’ll have better heart health

Running can drastically reduce your risk of dying from heart disease – even at slower speeds. A 12-minute mile pace for five – 10 minutes can even make a difference. 

When you run regularly, you slowly start to decrease your resting heart rate, which means your heart isn’t working so hard to pump vital blood around the body.

3) You’ll boost your mood

Now more than ever, we need something to help boost our mood. The stresses and strains of 2020 can get on top of us, and it is important to get outside and do what we can to raise our feel-good endorphins. 

Running is the perfect thing to do this. When you run, your brain releases two powerful feel-good chemicals – endorphins and endocannabinoids. And if you’re wondering if the latter has anything to do with cannabis – you’d be correct. 

The chemicals produced aren’t so different from those produced from marijuana – and these are much better for you!

4) You’ll strengthen your joints

No – we’re not talking about marijuana again!

Whilst you might think that pounding the pavement is going to have a detrimental effect on your joints, according to studies, running can actually benefit them.

“Aerobic exercise improves most body functions, including joint health,” says James Fries, M.D., professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.

“When you exercise, the cartilage in your hips, knees, and ankles compresses and expands. This draws in oxygen and flushes out waste products, nourishing and keeping the cartilage healthy. Without exercise, cartilage cells get weak and sick,” he says.

“Furthermore, running strengthens the ligaments that help support joints, making them more stable and less susceptible to sprains and strains, which can damage cartilage and eventually lead to Osteoarthritis.”

It’s important to consider your weight when running if you suffer from painful joints. The more you weigh, the more pressure on your joints. Losing just 10lbs can take considerable pressure off your knees.

However, as running is one of the most effective calorie burners, it is possible to side-step joint issues if you take up running carefully and under the guidance of a running coach.

5) You’ll feel the burn

As we mentioned above, running is one of the best ways to burn calories as it requires a lot of fuel. For a person weighing around 150 pounds, you can expect to burn about 12 calories a minute if running at a 10-minute mile pace. When you also add in hills and windy weather, you can burn even more!

Running is such a calorie torcher because you’re using the biggest muscles in your body – your legs. Running uses all the muscles in the legs, which is an excellent workout for your lower half.

6) Let’s not forget the abs!

As you run, your core is engaged as it is stabilising your spine, transferring power between your arms and your legs as you move. The whole lot of your core is working too.

Not only your six-pack but also your obliques, erector sprinae (the muscles supporting your spine) and your transverse abdominis – muffin tops be gone!

7) It’s quick!

Even if you only have 10 minutes for a workout – you can fit in a run and feel the benefits. You could also do it as part of your commute to or from work – as long as you’re not too far away.

Once you become more established, you’ll be able to squeeze in a 3-5k with a quick stretch and be back to work within the hour. 

8) It’s a mental game

If you’ve been running already, you will know how much your mental strength comes into play when you run. This can come in a few different ways.

It can be a time of reflection – to be alone with your thoughts while running an easy pace around some beautiful scenery.

It can be a fast, pounding the pavement kind of session where you can leave your frustrations out on the tarmac. You get home and feel so much better for running off that lousy mood that Karen at the office put you in.

Perhaps you’re looking to challenge yourself and go further or faster. Put on some great music and push yourself. You will feel fantastic!

The mental health benefits of running are tenfold and is a whole blog in itself!

9) Keep fighting fit

You will soon see the benefits of running – even with small amounts. According to a meta-analysis published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, running just 50 minutes per week can protect the body from the risk of stroke, arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and some cancers.

It’s not surprising to learn that running can help you to live longer. In fact, runners have a 25 to 40 per cent reduced risk of premature mortality and live about three years longer than non-runners, according to a 2017 study published in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.

10) The running community is a pretty great place to be!

There is such a variety of people within the world of running. When you go along to watch a race, you will see all shapes and sizes and all abilities within them. Belonging to a community of like-minded people is a strong motivator – whether you’ve just had a fantastic run, or you’ve felt lousy. Your tribe will be there to pick you up.

That’s why we began ‘Start Running – Stay Running’ and our extraordinary free Facebook Group. With so many different groups around on social media, we really wanted to focus on those that are new to running or perhaps returning after injury.

When you start running, it can be full of elitists which can make you quite inferior. Suddenly, your mile that you’re proud of feels very insignificant. But it is VERY significant! Every runner has started somewhere and has once been where you are. As a community, with members from all over the world, we support and celebrate each and every run.

We would LOVE to see you there… but the question is, WILL we see you there? 

Linda Meek is the co-founder of Start Running – Stay Running, a Facebook Group and VIP Membership for people who are taking up running but don’t have the information to hand to help them do it safely.

Photo by Alex McCarthy