Are You a Runner? If Not, Here’s Why You Might Give it a Try

May is National Running Month – which is great news if you’re a runner and want to celebrate by signing up for a race or buying yourself some new socks (or something else). Yet for every person who talks endlessly about the race s/he’s training for, there’s someone who hasn’t run since it was a mandatory activity in school. We tell you why running might be the activity for you (even if you don’t think you’ll be good at it).

The Benefits of Running

First off, running has important health benefits. You don’t have to be running with Olympic Gold pace either, for it to pay off. According to Runner’s World, these are some science-backed benefits:

  • Mental health – running releases “feel good’ hormones in the brain and can help boost mood and improve mental health.
  • Weight loss – running burns a lot of calories and can help you drop or maintain weight.
  • Improve joint & bone health – running actually builds bone mass and can improve knee and other joint health (contrary to popular opinion).
  • Slow age-related cognitive decline – running can keep you mentally “sharper” longer.
  • Help reduce cancer risk – running won’t cure cancer but it can help prevent it (as does regular exercise).
  • Longer life – running (and other exercise) can add years to your life.

Overcome Your Own Objections

Many people talk themselves out of running without ever trying. You’ll say “I’m too slow, I haven’t run in years” or “I only run if something is chasing me.” Practically speaking, you won’t improve anything if you don’t practice. Also, if you really did need to run from something or someone, wouldn’t you improve your odds if you ran regularly? Running is beautiful in its simplicity. You don’t need a ton of equipment, a gym membership, or anything other than your willpower and a good pair of shoes. It’s also easy to quantify: you can measure your distance with loops on a track, an app on your phone, or a GPS watch. When it comes to running, it really is you vs. you. You’ll also find the running community is welcoming and inclusive, cheering on the newest, oldest, youngest, and slowest members!

How to Get Started

Many people overdo it initially, biting off more than they can chew. Tackling too much distance, too fast a pace, too soon is all a recipe for injury. Instead, work your way up to longer distances and faster paces – but start low and slow. Start off with small increments, not miles. Give yourself rest days in between so your body can recover. If you’ve decided to shoot for a 5k or other race, there are some easy-to-follow online training guidelines or apps available. Running will give you what you put in, and it’s easy to see and appreciate your progress. It’s hard not to get hooked when you hit distances or paces you never thought you could reach!

Looking for a race this month? Join Body One at Justin’s Run4Hope, a 3.6 mile run, 1 mile walk, and .5 mile kids’ dash. We sponsor this annual event which supports a great cause and hope to see you there!

If you need help getting started, or if you’re a runner who could use some help getting back on the road, Body One Physical Therapy is here to help. We’re locally-owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis,  Fishers, and Zionsville. Our team of caring, specialized physical therapists works with clients of all ages and activity levels and we’d love to get you on the road to your best running yet!