Running does not have to be about weight loss, in fact the benefits reach far further than that.

Running and getting fit can prove to be a challenge, but running is possibly one of the most popular sports worldwide. I believe this is because running does not discriminate. It does not ask you to be fast, or skinny, to get up early or to spend too much money. For all intensive purposes you can start running to improve you happiness anywhere, anytime.

You can run for pure joy, or for the basic health benefits, it doesn’t have to be to lose weight or to get fit necessarily, it can just be to improve your daily life.

And here are 5 Reasons Running Makes You a Happier Person:

1. Be more aware

These days we all either stuck in traffic of stuck with our heads facing a screen. Running gives us the opportunity to get out of our cars, step away from our screens and to get in some fresh air. To look around us and observe out environment, to see people around us and to be more aware of things happening around us. It will help you get you head out of a creative rut, open your mind to new possibilities. To help you think, imagine, daydream or even plan your day or your next move. This will almost definitely have a positive effect on your mental health and happiness as a person.

My Take: I can get so caught up in social media and work, it actually makes me a little bit crazy and obsessed sometimes, and Running has a way of pulling me away from my phone and helping e to just look up, and around me , and to be aware of something else other that social media.

2. Stress relief / Endorphins

Running can help you blow off steam after a long day of work. Or it can help you get focused and clear your mind before a big day of work. Running can help your body release any negative stresses that may be bothering you, it releases endorphins that make you feel happy and amazing.

My Take: Running is definitely is one of my biggest stress relievers and the best way for me to plan my day in the mornings. If I had my early morning run, it feels like I can do anything! It instantly makes me forget about the little sleep I had, or how difficult the kids were, or the fact that I’m stressed about work or business.

3. Community

Running connects you with people from all walks of life. Through Running I have become friends with so many different people. People I would never have even thought of being friends with. Through this your life gets enriched to the exposure of different careers, different cultures and different personalities, helping me be more mindful and learning about different people.

My Take: Running has taught me so much about myself and about people, we need each other, and it has made me want to connect more with people around me, making me thing differently about situation because of the community I am part of. It helps me feel safe to go for a run by joining a friend on days when I either don’t want to run or just need that extra security.

4. Planning and problem solving

Above anything Running will make you happier by teaching you the tools of planning and problem solving. Throughout your day you have things that need to happen, weather you are a stay at home mom or a busy career person or even just someone in-between. You will learn that once you are so hooked on your run and what it means to you, you will have to plan and schedule your day to find the best time for you run. It will also teach you to help implement problem solving by figuring out smart ways to make time to go run when something unexpectedly comes up.

My Take: When I was working in corporate and in JHB, having to drive early in the morning to work. I had to make a plan as to how I was going to fit my run in at work, without missing work. So I started running in my lunch hour. Planning to get my work done in time to go for a run and come back without having missed out on anything important. Having little time to play with between work and being a mom I also some weekend combined my run with the kids naps, running with them in the pram, because I don’t have a babysitter and baby has to nap, and I need to run, combining all of them = problem solved.

5. Just be healthier

Lastly, Running and the physical activity make you feel good about yourself. The exercise keeps you healthy, not necessarily skinny or ‘ripped’ or anything like that. It’s good for your heart and for your lungs, it helps your body stay strong and gives it the necessary tools to be stronger in the face of illness and sickness.

My Take: In December 2020, just as we arrived on holiday my husband started to feel sick. After few days of him being man down and me looking after the kids, we ended up having him tested and he was positive for COVID. We ended up in quarantine at home with family as we were all already exposed to one another. I’m proud to say that I did not get too sick, I had some symptoms and I still can smell, but I believe that my strong immune system and healthy lifestyle helped my body to fight the virus. And again 5 weeks later a new family illness hit us - Lily had a few vomits, Paul had diarrhea and vomits, and so did my husband. I took care of all of them, poo, vomit and everything and I did not get sick. Again I believe this is due to my strong immune system thanks to running.

These are just a few simple reasons why you should consider starting to run, or keep on running. In the Beginning getting fit is hard and it's not always fun and games, but the benefits are endless and will ultimately help you live a healthier life, mentally and physically.

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Happy Running!

Jani xx 

written by

Jani du Toit

Mother, Blogger and Pattern maker from Pretoria

Age group: 30
Club: ASICS FrontRunner

My Disciplines
Half Marathon Trail 10k

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