Running is something a lot of people hate and for good reason. I have been one of those who hated running for majority of my life. I didn’t find any merit in running even if it had a lot of health benefits. I’d rather play sports or workout in the gym I said to myself. Running is so boring and monotonous. It’s not my thing. I would never enjoy running. I have said most of these sentences for a large part of my life but something snapped somewhere along the way as I discovered the connection between running and life.
Life is a constant discovery. Look back at life retrospectively can sometimes be a shocking journey. Things change, time flies constantly and some memories remain steady while others die down along the way. There are new experiences, new people, new thoughts, and new fears. Just about every day there is certain newness in life even we feel life is boring and monotonous.
Running has helped me identify my own being in ways I could have never imagined. I have always had a thing for outdoors but was never really a runner. Working out in the gym with some weights and an odd session cardio was the maximum I would do. May be that is sufficient if your goal is fitness of the physical body. Now after experiencing the joy of long distance running for some years I can vouch for the fact that running is more of a mental exercise. Of course running has tremendous fitness benefits. It’s a perfect exercise for the heart and lungs, is beneficial for the skin and is also a natural remedy for men to excel in bed. Amid all the physical benefits running provides a mental equilibrium that is difficult to explain in words and needs to be experienced.
Running and Stress: What do you do when under a lot of stress? Go out for a party and drink is it? The next time you are out in a boring social gathering pouring yourself a drink only to get a momentary high and then feeling down again the next morning, it is time to break the cycle. Running releases chemicals called endorphins in the brain which is nature’s way of elevating your mood. Just one dose of a runner’s high and you would never go back to any other submissive forms like alcohol to work around your stress.
Running and Spirituality: From thousands of years to the current day and age, the core fundamentals of spirituality cover the body, mind and soul. Is it just a coincidence that ancient mystics embraced yoga as a part of their personal spiritual growth? Similarly Zazen the Buddhist meditation has been synonymous in learning of most modern day martial arts. Of course there is something much more significant than any meditational or spiritual teaching. It is about the body and its connection with the mind. Only a fit body can hold a really conscious mind.
Post Run Contemplation and Trance: Post your run is the best time to contemplate and think about your issues. Running can de-clutter the mind much like meditation. If you are worked up, stressed or simply out of ideas seeking a new spark, a post run contemplation is the perfect setup.
Too old to run ehh? : And by the way if you think you are too old to start running, think again. Fauja Singh believed to be the world’s oldest runner took up running at the age of 89 and has run nine full marathons. There is no age to start running, you don’t compete with anyone buy your own inner self. You don’t need sophisticated gadgets to start running. A pair of good running shoes and sometimes not even the shoes and you are good to go. Just make sure you get your doctor’s go ahead before starting out any running activity to make sure your body is healthy enough to sustain the run.
Let me end by sharing a famous quote that I am sure you must have read a number of times but still remains one of the better one’s I have read over the years.
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”