Perks of Running

Perks of Running

Whitney Robbins, Editor

I used to hate running: my legs and lungs would burn. Whenever I ran in public I felt uncomfortable and judged.  After a lot of persuasion from Park’s new girls cross country coach, Mrs. Vallejos, I joined the team. Despite joining late my junior year, I have no regrets and will for sure continue running because it has changed my life. I learned how to control my asthma better, made new friends, became less stressed and anxious. Running proved to have a positive impact on both my physical health and mental health, and I believe it can do the same for others.

One thing I noticed when I started running was that I could finally breathe which is saying something coming from a person with asthma. Running helps your lungs build a tolerance by “mak[ing] it easier for your lungs to perform activities that make you winded, like walking up stairs,” says Healthline writer Kirsten Nunez. It also increases how much oxygen your lungs can intake at a time, which in turn lessens the time it takes for someone to feel short of breath. While running does not cure asthma, it noticeably makes it easier to manage.

Another positive change I’ve noticed was with my state of mind. I’ve always been an anxious and nervous person. Honestly, I still am, but while running those nerve-inducing thoughts die down a lot. Not only that, but I feel a huge boost in my mood. This is because of a biochemical substance called endocannabinoid. Endocannabinoid is basically a naturally induced by the body version of cannabis. Professor of neuroscience, David J. Linden, explains the science behind it: “Exercise increases the levels of endocannabinoids in the bloodstream…endocannabinoids can move easily through the cellular barrier separating the bloodstreams from the brain, where these mood-improving neuromodulators promote short-term psychoactive effects such as reduced anxiety and feelings of calm.” If you’re ever feeling stressed and need a break, give running a try.

While I personally love and prefer running with other people, running alone is great too. I find that there are so many advantages to running with other people. Running with my cross country team made me feel more confident. Not only did I make friends, but having other runners with me made the runs feel not as long or tiring. My teammates also motivated me; they cheered me on during my first 5K meet when I was very nervous and pushed me to keep running.

I do love running with other people, but running solo definitely has its advantages as well. Instead of feeling like you have to run at a certain speed, you are more able to run at your own pace. You don’t have to worry about how slow or fast you’re going because it’s only you. You are also more aware of your body and mind. When you are running alone, there are less distractions and more opportunities to focus on yourself: physically and mentally. If you want the full benefits of running in general, don’t be afraid to try both running by yourself and with other people.

A lot of people want to take up running but are hesitant, while others may not give running a single though. Maybe if you have read this far then this article is a sign to at least try.