To everyone already running out there, you’re hip to what makes running so can’t-go-without. To everyone else on the fence who hasn’t run since grade school (and only during dodge ball), this list is for you.
1. It gets better. You might be surprised to hear this, but running is –gasp- hard (I know, I know, it’s impossible to believe). You can’t breathe, it makes you hurt in places you didn’t think could hurt–it’s kind of the exact opposite of fun, in fact. The first few times you give your legs a spin, I guarantee you’ll feel the wrath of shin splints and side stitches. They will make you hate life. And as you learn the virtues of R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation), you’ll feel demoralized, brewing hotly over why you should bother pursuing something that doesn’t seem all that friendly to your body. Well, let me tell you this: IT GETS BETTER. As time goes on, you’ll feel something change. First, your breathing gets easier. Then, you’ll notice your legs and feet develop a rhythm that you find simultaneously comforting and invigorating. Your body will learn synchronicity–your legs, arms, feet, lungs, the way you hold yourself, they all become one unified working machine. Because that’s what you become, when you take on running. One day, you wake up and you’re a runner. It’s really quite exciting. You should try it.
2. It’s good for you. That thing in your chest that’s pounding like crazy? Yep, that’s your heart. And that pumping action? That’s a good thing. It’s a muscle, just like your legs, and the more you work it, the fitter it gets (which means less susceptibility to things like heart disease). Another bonus of getting fit? More muscles. More muscles means your body uses calories more efficiently, which means getting overweight is a whole lot harder. Now, let’s move on to bones. The best way to grow and nurture them? Stress. The gravity kind, not the nail-biting kind. So, the more you do things like walking, and by extension, running, the denser your bones become (all with a healthy diet, of course). Running just takes your overall health and, well, runs with it.
3. It lifts you up. Not just your booty, but your mood. That runner’s high that everyone talks about? It’s real. It’s called serotonin, and the more heart-thumping adrenaline you produce, the more you create little synaptic fires in your brain that cook up some happy-making hormones. On a completely non-scientific front, there’s no better way to clear your mind than an all-out, physically taxing sprint (because, really, there’s no room to think about anything other than getting oxygen).
4. It’s cheap. Arguably the best part about running. You don’t need a gym membership, fancy clothes, special equipment… none of that stuff. All you need to start running is a solid pair of shoes and a good stretch of road. With the more miles you rack up, you’ll definitely need to replace your shoes more often, but considering how that $60-$150 is spread out over the entire year, it’s pretty darn affordable.