Do you remember when you were a child and you couldn’t sit still?
Remember that sensation of wanting to freely run as fast as you could? Do you ever wish for that feeling again? Is there ever a time when you just want to run for no reason, for the sheer pleasure of feeling the wind on your face and feeling the power of your body go as fast and as hard as you can?
Well yesterday, June 1, was the Third Annual National Running Day. The first Wednesday of every June has been designated by some running affiliates and organizations across the United States as a day to celebrate running.
The overall purpose of National Running Day is to bring running as a recreational exercise to the forefront. It is another way to help promote running as a way to raise money for charitable organizations, as well as remind everyone that running can be an inexpensive and convenient way to exercise.
In history, there is no record; however, it is assumed that the caveman learned how to run for the sake of survival and safety. Recreational running dates back to Egypt and the Pharaohs around 3800 BC, and then in the first Olympics in 776 BC.
Running as a sport has been around for quite some time. Today you can run in an organized race anywhere from 1 mile to several hundreds of miles. There are quite a few options on pavement, on trails or on beaches. You can choose to run in a group or alone.
Whether you run in your bare feet, as some choose to do now, or in a specially fitted shoe, running as an exercise can benefit you in many ways.
Not everyone loves to run. However, out of all the options to exercise, it can be very efficient and convenient, improving cardiovascular health. If you are an avid runner or a runner wannabe, there are some additional benefits that you can achieve from lacing up your sneakers.
1. Running can relieve stress. Much like in our childhood, the sensation of just taking off into a full sprint to escape the day’s stresses can be a completely exhilarating experience. Exercise can decrease "stress hormones" like cortisol, and increase endorphins, your body's "feel-good" chemicals, giving your mood a natural boost. (This is the chemistry behind a "runner’s high.")
2. Running is a great way to connect with nature and your local environment. What is great about Phoenixville is the varied terrain. Your running workouts are not just on flat roads. You need to use quite a few extra muscles to get your body around some of the hills. Running up Franklin Street down to Bridge Street, then running out to the Schuylkill Canal is a great loop and very scenic as well.
Although I only list two benefits, running is an exercise that can be recommended to help your health overall. Most exercise if done on a regular basis will improve your sleep, reduce your body weight, slow down the aging process and reduce the risk of preventable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and strokes to name a few.
Take a moment and remember those days as a toddler or a 5 or 6 year old, when you couldn’t just walk anymore--you had to run. Think about the fun and enjoyment you experienced running around the neighborhood playing games, running from yard to yard, running from the hose in the summer, running up the hill to go down on your sled in winter.
It's never too late to find some of that joy in exercise. Try lacing up your sneakers and going for a run without any purpose other than having fun. If you missed National Running Day, make today or tomorrow your local running day.
If you want to find out more about National Running Day and plan for next year, check out the website, http://www.runningday.org/site/. There are some great resources on this site to help you get started if you are new to running.
I must note that starting any exercise program should be done at your own pace and should not be done at the exception of your doctor’s advisement. Always be safe and heed your doctor’s advice.