I’m writing this following an emotionally and mentally straining day that was interrupted by a little voice inside my head suggesting, “You should go for a run.” Without much hesitation, I put on a pair of Salomon running shoes, organized my dog Winston, had no music, no planned distance, and off I went. 15km and close to 2 hours later, I returned understanding why running outside (no matter the weather, time or distance) is a special physical activity. Specifically:
- Being alone is a precious commodity we don’t tap into enough. As an adult, running can be a cheap and highly effective personal therapist. Over the last 3 years, running outside has become my go-to for physical, and especially mental, relaxation. Being able to tune into my body without exhausting it seems to act as a rejuvenating activity for the mind. A short outdoor run works wonders on my mental outlook for whatever challenges I’m facing. To me, only running outdoors is capable of this because I’m in a position of full control and concentration, not some instructor or a machine. Vitally, mental peacefulness via running is realized as a result of being alone – soundly alone without any interruptions or feeling like you need to be plugged in. Coming back to the basics of seclusion while running outdoors provides precious mental rest that is vital for us to function and flourish.
- It constantly makes you appreciate the important things. I’m an advocate and supporter of a weekly appreciation list that helps you reflect and concentrate on what is fundamentally critical. Over the last couple weeks, running was always one of the things I was thankful for but it’s more profound than that isn’t it? Being able to run outdoors made me thankful for the fact that I live in a safe neighborhood, that I’m healthy, that the air that I breathe is clean and the nature I run in is fruitful, and that I can entice others to try running and enjoy it. Such a simple physical activity that many of us have access to and are able to do, makes us realize a lot of important things to be grateful for.
- That little voice isn’t only dedication, it’s confirmation that my natural senses are working to my benefit. Too often our tendencies is to ignore what our mind and gut are telling us. We shut the little voice down to continue working on what we believe is important at that moment of time. I could have completely ignored the idea of going for a run at a time when applying for another position or replying to another email seemed more important. However, more often than not, taking myself out of the situation and not thinking about it proved highly beneficial. That little ‘running voice’ helped me connect with my other senses to see the big picture of what’s important in the long term, not the immediate, and gave me energy to tackle what needed to be done keeping the big picture in mind.
Reflect on the reasons why you run and share! We’d love to hear how running impacts and shapes you.