Run “A Way” From Your Problems

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Running is a common activity that has been around for most of human existence and for good reason. Many people have found benefits for running throughout it's long life. In fact in 776 BC, the first event of the first ever Olympic games in Greece was a foot race. However, we're not going to talk about that because that's ancient history and be honest, you fell asleep in history class. Yeah, but don't feel ashamed I couldn't even name someone who didn't fall asleep in my history class. That being said, I'll just assume you're not interested in the history of running, although you may want to know how running can benefit you.

Running may provide us with a temporary freedom from our problems. There are some issues that weigh in on the brain so much that when we think about physical activity we tend to let out a big sigh and silently say to ourselves "Ugh, what's the point?" Well, can we blame ourselves? There's not much a person will do without a certain degree of interest, and when we have so much going on it's hard to see the significance that something might have. However, sometimes we are blinded to the capacity an experience as a whole will give us. We fall victim to this because of our tendencies to break everything down in parts. We linger on the hard, uncomfortable, or uninteresting parts, and misjudge the upside of getting through them. Other times we just simply don't know enough about the experience to judge whether it will give us the right amount of pleasure that we seek.

With so much debate in between I reiterate the question "Can we blame ourselves?" Maybe not, but it wouldn't hurt to know a little bit more about the experience. It is always encouraged to decide if something is right for you from a position of knowledge.

Psychological benefits

You may be aware of the physical benefits of running, but how familiar are you with the psychological benefits?

  • Going out for a run does much more than benefit you physically. Running can improve your self esteem, confidence, and goal setting ability. The action of determining how far you want to run, working up the courage to get started, and completing your mission can do huge wonders for your mental stability.
  • Endorphins, your "feel good" hormones are released while you run and can lead to a phenomenon some people like to refer to as the "runner's high." This flood of endorphins has the capacity to relieve stress and anxiety, boost the immune system, and make you look and feel younger!

Okay that's all well and good, but let's say you decide to go out for a run. How can you get the most out of your experience? Well, there are an emerging group of people who incorporate mindful meditation when they run. This involves synchronizing your breath with your movements and remaining tuned out from your thoughts and tuned in to the experience of the run.

Advocators of mindful running consider the benefits to reach anywhere from faster recovery and having a more interesting/fun time running, to purging negative thoughts and emotions and replacing that awareness with positive more favorable feelings.

Here are a couple keys to engaging in a mindful run:

  •  Syncronize your breath

Breathe oxygen rich air through your nose emphasizing deep controlled breaths while engaging the diaphragm. Connect your breath with your movements by putting together a pattern of steps and incorporating your breath in that sequence.

  • Focus on your stride

Listening to our bodies while we run shows us that we can learn how to run better if we pay close enough attention. Bring your awareness towards your footsteps making sure to keep your steps as silent as you can. Bear in mind that our body wants to avoid causing deep impact to our joints and encourages us to be light on our feet.

Run a way from your problems and run towards good health!

Thanks for reading!

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Chris 😊

Sources:

http://www.chinehamrunners.co.uk/general/brief-history-of-running/

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21 thoughts on “Run “A Way” From Your Problems

  1. Yes yes yes! A running addict here- and love all of your points about running. It really does have so many mental and emotional benefits, way beyond just physical fitness. A great activity that is minimal equipment and everyone can try 🙂

    1. Thank you! I like the way you put it “a great activity that is minimal equipment and everyone can try.” It definitely embodies that and I’m glad you touched on that and also that you enjoyed the post. Thanks alot!

  2. I love running too! It’s not easy to get out the door and start the run, but about a mile or two in I can feel how my body eases into the exercise. I have all the brain space I need to think through problems, particularly plot issues with my novel. I can’t tell you how many brick walls I’ve overcome in my storytelling (either for my blog or for my creative fiction) just from going out for a run. The breathing thing is a challenge. I do yoga, so am familiar with the notion of synchronizing breath, but am pretty bad at it. I’d like to try again though–on my next run perhaps. 🙂

    1. What a wonderful take on your experience! I definitely use running to work out some problems and like you said there is a certain part during a run you get into a groove and seem to mellow out a bit. Synchronizing your breath can be difficult for people who have alot of things going on in their head but the more you work at it the better you get! Thanks for sharing and I hope you try and enjoy mindful running!

  3. Great article. Running definitely has more than just physical benefits. I’ll keep the mindfulness in mind during my next run. I didn’t start running until I was 33 (always thought I couldn’t do it), but I’m so glad I pushed through the doubt and made it a part of my life.

    1. That’s awesome to hear! We all have our separate journey’s that take us to different places, but I’m glad yours eventually took you to a place where you could introduce running into your life. Thanks for sharing!

  4. You truly couldn’t have said it any better. It’s all so true, as one who truly suffers from Clinical depression and anxiety, running and even power walking has helped me out tremendously. The moment I begin to run I start to focus on my breathing techniques and try to maintain at a steady pace, within 5 minutes I begin to notice a change in mood and all of my constant thoughts begin to fade away. As crazy as it might sound to many, running truly relaxes me. Running is the best medicine, and it’s FREE.

    1. Amazing! Thank you for having the courage to share your story and offering an experience that I’m sure my readers will appreciate greatly. I’m so glad you found so much relief from running and I hope it continues to affect your life in such a positive way. Thanks again for sharing!

    1. That’s okay sometimes after training for a big event we need to deload and take some time off to recuperate. As long as you get back out there with the same Spirit you had before you’ll be fine! Thanks for sharing 😊

  5. I love running, especially now that I’m a mom… running solo Sunday mornings is my special treat since I work out with a stroller most days; I get blog fodder from my Sunday runs because running crystallizes my thoughts and strings them together for me (usually they’re just kind a jumble in my head).
    I have to say that I’m not very good at being mindful when I run. I’ve always preferred listening to music and listening to whats going on in my head to paying attention to my breathing and my stride.
    Fortunately, running with a stroller forces me to be more mindful since I don’t listen to music when I have my daughter with me. The runs with her are shorter, but running with my full attention outward is a different experience and allows me to tune in to my body much more, so it’s good that I get to do that.
    I’m afraid I’ll still always prefer my headphone-in runs, though.
    Thanks for reminding me of the benefits of mindful running!

    1. It certainly awesome to see Supermoms finding the time to engage in activity. I tried to incorporate mindful running to give people who aren’t so familiar with running a chance to find a way to enjoy it in order to keep up with it consistently and unlock all the benefits. If you are already consistent with it then that’s great you don’t necessarily have to alter what your doing. However, mindfulness certainly has it’s benefits in itself so maybe you can find something else to incorporate it into or just set alone some time to practice some sort of meditation. My favorite way to do that is Yoga and I’ve learned that clearing the mind is so beneficial. Anyway, thanks for sharing your story supermom! I appreciate your time 😊

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