The health benefits of running are no secret, whether you run regularly for races or keep it casual, running now and again, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you are guaranteed to feel better inside and out.
Deciding to keep your mind and body active and moving through sport and fitness, is a form of self-care, where you can discover and connect with a version of yourself you never knew before, a better version of yourself. Runners high is magic and can stop you in your tracks from retaliation, melt stress and help you get some mental space and clarity to reflect. Who IS this new you?!
But beyond mental and physical health benefits, running is a social sport, believe it or not, where you connect to a larger community, beyond that on your immediate community. You see, running clubs, races and frankly, any running event is full of like-minded people who are also looking to build stronger relationships, support others and improve their local area.
- Run among nature
- Become a plogger
- Use running to help others
You will find yourself volunteering for a race or event before you know it. Waking up early to hand out pins for bibs, man a water station or direct runners where to go on a long and winding route. It might not sound to Hollywood, but it is worth it.
By volunteering, you are helping out hundreds, if not thousands, of runners take part in a race they’ve trained so hard for. And you’ll certainly appreciate those volunteering for your race later on this year.
Volunteering for race marshalling is a nice way to give back to the running community – if your local town has a race and you’re injured or not taking part… still be part of the action, fun and memories as a race volunteer.
(Good person score: 1)
There’s a reason so many ‘turn to nature’ when they need to feel grounded, and press that reset button. The beautiful scenery trail runners stumble upon is too breathtaking to put into words – it is something you need to experience. Having done so, you find a newfound appreciation for nature, how it handles the freezing winters, glorious summers and everything in-between – the robustness of nature is something you can’t ignore, running through forestry, suddenly your problems seem so small.
The trails keep you on your toes, and mind busy with tree roots, stones, rivers and curious dogs, resulting in being completely in the moment, almost a meditative state which will work wonders for your mental and emotional health. Doing this regularly will have a significant impact on your thought processes and reactive behaviours.
(Better person score: 2)
Have you heard of ‘plogging’? It’s a craze all over the world, an eco-friendly way to clean up litter en route. Fresh out of Scandinavia, plogging is combining jogging and picking up trash – not only is it good for your body (bend-ze-knees) it’s also fantastic for the environment. Don’t believe me? Check Instagram! #plogging has more than 243,000 tags!? And all it entails is you going for a run, alone or with others picking up the trash you see along the way. – Keep your local area cleaner each time you head out. Check out more, and find local groups on their website
It’s incredibly satisfying because you notice a difference straight away, after a plogging run, you will always feel good, with a double dose of runners high, surely?
So, now not only do you run for your own health, you’re helping the environment too! Just remember to wear gloves***
(Good person score: 3)
This can be setting up moms-run groups around the soccer fields while the children practise. It could be to fundraise for a charity or group (we’ve all seen those crazies running marathons in heavy fancy dress). Some organisations are doing fantastic work across the world that you can get involved with, for example:
- Park run: volunteering your time to keep a local 5k route free, safe and ongoing for locals who rely on the Saturday morning challenge.
- Girls on the run: a national non-profit delivering running programmes to young girls for invaluable life skills
- Walk, Jog, Run Club are a welcoming diverse running club whose race proceeds are donated to local charities supporting community development, with their hosting of the Civil Rights races, aiming to fight injustice in the community.
- 261 fearless: global, not for profit women running organisation dedicated to uniting women through running through education and local running clubs, with one aim: to empower all women!
(Better person score: 4)
It’s no mystery that athletes in a team are incredibly close. There’s a reason the saying is “couples who workout together, stay together”
it goes for friendships too. People who exercise together are starting with a shared interest or passion – running. Throughout regular club runs, even car-sharing to races or volunteering together, you will be supporting each other through a lot, such as through injuries, or talking on your runs together, it’s surprising how deep and meaningful the conversations can be. And being unafraid to discuss personal topics with running friends will certainly impact your friendships and relationships elsewhere – for a deeper, satisfying connection all-round. Not only that, runners high gives you a natural happiness surge, which I believe rubs off on others.
(Ultimate new and better person score: 5)
See, by running you can quickly become a better version of yourself, why wouldn’t you want to give it a go? Begin running, develop a habit and be the best version of you there is!