Running.

By Ben Mathewson.

I’ve always liked the idea of running, but have been pathetic at it! I easily get short of breath and sometimes fall clumsily. I especially hated being forced into running at carnivals. I remember one race I was in; where an asthmatic passed me with his trainer- and by the time I did get to the finish line, the judges had packed away the flags! I kid you not! The reason I want to take up this bizarre sport is to do with fascination and improvement. Although I’m terrible at it, I’m fascinated at how runners just love it!. I also want to see an improvement in my frame, which is slowly diminishing.

Why Run?

There are loads of physical reasons to run! It can improve your cardiovascular system, strengthen your muscles, burn calories, and help to maintain a healthy weight- for a start! The other reasons, which interest me personally about running, are the psychological side effects. Studies have shown that running can:

decrease the symptoms of depression: According to Craft and Perna, in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, regular exercise can be used to quite significantly lower depression, especially when used together with other psychological treatments like Cognitive behaviour Therapy – commonly used by counsellors (like me!) to tackle it.

Alleviates some anxiety: The Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes that people who took regular vigorous exercise were 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder within the following five years. The study also showed that just a brisk walk or other simple activity could deliver several hours of relief from anxiety-  in the same way that you might take an aspirin for a headache.

It can increase creativity and improve memory: The findings by neurologist Wendy Suzuki are still being examined, but scientists do know that exercise-  especially aerobic workouts like running, will stimulate a thing called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which supports the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus. There is a suggestion that this type of exercise enhances memory and a person’s ability to ‘imagine new situations’- one practical aspect of creativity.

Starting slowly

I don’t usually run and I also have other pains in my body, so I’m starting slowly. In many of the articles I read, people who are unused to running need to acclimatise themselves to the new routine. Runners world suggests warming up for 5 – 10 minutes. (Probably should have read that before I started!) Runners world also suggests doing a combination of short bursts of running in between bouts of walking.

The ‘track’ I did today, and in the foreseeable future, is a mixture of grass and cement surface. My route starts from the flats behind my house and slopes downwards. As an extra challenge, the second leg involves climbing up the steeply inclined road to return to my house. I also pass Mcdonalds, which I would not advise for a beginner at exercise or a beginner on GAPS!

I think most of all I love the feeling of running. The wind in my hair, the sunlight on my face, and just enjoying the process of moving. Many people hate running, because they see it as a pointless exercise- but running is just as meditative as you make it. Any exercise you take up will not be useful if you maintain your stress while doing it.

  •  ~ My Running shoes ~

I say all of this with caution. Just like anything, it’s easy to start something then wonder if it’s all worth it- so I brought cheap running shoes with the expectation that I need to buy shoes anyway. I don’t know if I will ever run in any kind of serious way; but for now, I’m just enjoying doing it as a new challenge.

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