By: Charles (Chuck) Racette
People all over the world are looking for ways to get active and experience the benefits of an active lifestyle. Many alternatives include equipment and have geographical restrictions in that you have to be near dedicated or specialized facilities in order to practice your chosen sport or other activity. If you choose a team sport schedules become a challenge and as people increasingly travel for their work and/or have erratic working schedules. The challenge of making it to practices, games and events becomes not only a challenge but a source of stress for the person taking on the activity and his or her teammates that are counting on them.
Running is the most accessible sports in the world!
• Has no geographical boundaries
• Can be practiced practically anywhere, anytime<
• Can be practiced alone or as a group
• Involves very little equipment "have running shoes - will run!" Of course once bitten by the bug, we can all spend all kinds of money on just about everything under the sun related to running but the truth is, shoes are pretty much all you need. Heck some people believe that you can even run without shoes.
• It's no coincidence that people involved in jobs that require a lot of traveling and have hectic schedules often choose running as their sport and/or way to keep fit. I for example, spent over 20 years working in jobs that took around the world, most times living out of suitcases, hotels, airports. In situations like this we have a choice of staying "I'd love to get into shape or stay fit but my schedule and lifestyle don't allow it" or we can choose a sport or activity that can be done anywhere any time with very little equipment to carry around, and hey... here's an added benefit, most people who travel with their job end up traveling all over but basically seeing the insides of.
Most of the benefits that one would draw from running are obvious like:
• Improved fitness level
• More energy
• Some of the benefits that are maybe less obvious but equally important and impressive and oh... by the way, clinically proven are:
• Stress relief and management
• Boosts your immune system
• Helps protect against chronic disease
• Helps reduce the risk of many age-related conditions and diseases. Studies at the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) show that regular exercise lowers the risk of Breast Cancer by 50%, Colon Cancer by 60%, Stroke by 27%, Diabetes by 50%, High Blood Pressure by 40% and even lowers the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 40%.
• Helps you develop and maintain a positive attitude which in itself provides benefits in so many different aspects of your life
• Helps regulate your sleep cycle
• Will awaken your sex life...and that's never a bad thing!
• Increases your odds against heart disease
• And much, much more...
With all these benefits who wouldn't want to run?
Well, the challenge for most people is getting started but the good news is there are many programs provided by running organizations like the RRCA (Road Runners Club of America), specialty stores like The Running Room in Canada and convenient Web based options like globe-runners.com that offer programs to help people go from their couch to 5 km, from 5 km to 10, from 10 to a half marathon and yes to get these very same people to the marathon, the ultimate running challenge.
For those of us involved in the sport whether it be as runners, coaches and even committed supporters there is probably nothing more rewarding than watching the progression of someone who goes from saying "I couldn't even run one kilometer" to a few months later watching them cross the finish line at a 5 or 10k event and if they've decided that it's what they want, they followed a balanced training program put together by a professional or professional organization, if they've shown the commitment and shed the sweat, I'll challenge anyone to not shed a tear of joy for them as they cross the finish line of the marathon. Once they've crossed that line they, their lives and what's possible for them and their loved ones in their lives will be changed forever.
If you're someone considering taking up running just to improve your physical condition little bit, maybe to really up your fitness level or even to take on a major challenge, give it a try and keep this article to remind you of all the benefits that you can and will draw from your efforts as you enjoy paying the price through running.
If you are already a runner, heck... save it too, maybe you'll want to pull it out on one of those mornings where you went to bed too late the night before, the weather is the opposite of what you'd want it to be and the couch is calling your name..."come sit with me...come sit with me". But really probably one of the greatest things you could do with this or this type of article is share it! Share this article with anyone you know who is looking for or could use the benefits that you as a runner know they will from being a part of this great sport. They may find inspiration in this text to get them started or at least it may start a dialog that could bring them to start running or taking part in any other physical activity that is well suited to them.
Sources: American College of Sports Medicine. College Of Sport Medicine
Running, John Stanton