Not once when I was growing up, did I think that I would one day get into running. Though I was always first in sports days 1500m and 800m, the idea of running for fun and leisure didn’t appeal to me at all. Now that’s all changed.
Fast forward a few years and running is now a huge part of my life. I run about 20 miles a week and participate in a half marathon each month, as well as attending parkrun whenever I can. Simply, put I love running and look forward to doing it whenever and wherever I can. I even run on holiday and talk to friends and family about running whenever I can.
Though I couldn’t appreciate running when I was younger, now it’s one of the most enjoyable activities in my life. It’s like sleeping in a comfy bed or having a nice hot shower. It’s something I always look forward to.
Friends and family sometimes ask me ‘why should I start running?’
People in my life are often bamboozled as to why I love running so much. Whilst I don’t consider myself professional or an expert, my passion for the sport propels me to get my shoes on whenever I can and go for a workout.
When asked the question ‘why should I start running?’, I reply with some of the following 35 reasons.
Without further ado, here are 35 reasons you should start running
1. Running makes you happier
When you exercise, your brain releases feel-good chemicals. Amongst those chemicals are dopamine and serotonin, which are associated with happiness and pleasure.
Running improves your mood by changing your biochemistry, it’s a scientifically proven fact. It’s ironic that we often dread going for a run or taking part in exercise.
Whilst the first few moments of running may be difficult, you’ll soon feel happy and positive as the brain starts releasing happy chemicals. Put a smile on your face by starting to run, it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself.
2. Running is a natural stress buster
Whenever life gets stressful, or I’ve had a bad day, I found the best remedy is to get into my running shoes and run. It’s a natural, productive, and effective way to raise my mood and it’s one great reason you should start running.
Carrying on nicely from the previous point, running reduces stress and calm make you feel more relaxed.
Not only does running give you a peaceful window of time to yourself for relaxation and thinking about life, but it’s also scientifically proven to make you feel calmer. As mentioned before, when you run your brain releases feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.
3. Stay in shape
In the 21st century, a lot of our daily lives are automated or made easier, and it’s easier for us to become overweight. Driving in cars, sitting at a desk, not having an active job, are all examples of how we have become hugely inactive and subsequently overweight.
Running is a fantastic sport to take up because it helps you to stay in shape. Who doesn’t want to be a healthy weight and have a defined figure? It’s physically demanding, uses up a lot of energy, and burns tonnes of fat. If you’re living an inactive lifestyle, and want to get a toned figure, running is the solution for you.
Remember, running alone will not give you a healthy figure. You must alter your diet too, and make sure you’re eating healthy and non-processed foods. As a rule of thumb, eat complex carbohydrates before running and only eat proteins and healthy fats afterwards. This will keep you fuelled properly, whilst cutting out the bad parts of ordinary diets.
Run to stay in shape, it’s a fantastic reason to take up the sport. Think of looking good at parties, wedding days, at work, with your family and so on. The list of scenarios to stay in shape for is endless.
4. Save money
One of the best things about running is that it’s free. It’s not like tennis or squash, where you need to pay someone to use the facilities. No one can charge you to go for a run. You put on your shoes, step out the front door, and away you go.
It’s handy not to be paying a gym membership either, because the best running takes place outside in the open. Put away your wallet, treat yourself or someone you care about to something nice.
Running is a fantastic way to save money for things that really matter, a fantastic reason to take up the sport.
5. Make new friends
When I first started running, one of the things that struck me was how friendly the community was. I started attending parkrun and a local community run once a week and easily made lots of friends.
Runners are a friendly bunch. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your current ability is, or how experienced you are, runners like meeting new people.
Lots of friendships started with running, turn into lifelong friendships. The amount of people I’ve met for a night out, or gone for a meal with, through running is unbelievable. I’ve made lots of great friendships through this sport, which is one reason why I would encourage anyone to take up running.
Make new friends and start running today. You won’t regret it.
For some ideas on having fun with runner friends, check out the following blog posts:
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6. Have more energy
One thing that I (and everyone around me) noticed when I started running, was how much energy I had. I was quite an alert person before I started running, but when I went for my first few runs people noticed a difference. I was more mentally sharp, spoke clearer and had more confidence in managing my workload.
Going for a run is a natural way to have more energy. It sure beats having a cup of coffee, or an energy drink in the morning to wake you up. There’s nothing like being tired from sleeping to throwing yourself into a full-on running workout.
The best thing about running is you have more energy immediately after your run, and for many hours following the workout. It’s a win-win situation. You get your enjoyable run at the moment and have more energy for hours afterwards.
Start running today. You’ll have more energy and feel more equipped to take on the important tasks in your life.
7. Get into nature
“When you train seven days a week, you need good scenery to inspire you.” Alistair Brownlee
“The school holidays were always an exciting time in the Brownlee household. This was the opportunity for my brother Alistair and me to escape from the classroom and enjoy the great outdoors.” Jonathan Brownlee
Being outside, in nature, is a brilliant reason to start running. Research has shown outdoors experiences have a range of mental and physical health benefits. Being outdoors can fight depression, anxiety, low mood, boredom, and keep you mentally stimulated. If the outdoors is combined with running, physical benefits like staying a healthy weight and a reduced risk of disease (like cancer and type 2 diabetes) are more likely.
One of the best things about running is how most of it is done outside. Lots of people think they don’t like the idea of getting out, and into nature. However, a few runs down a river, by the beach, or in a local forest, persuades most people otherwise. The outdoors is a beautiful place, and runners should take full advantage of it.
Get outside, get running and get inspired. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I’d recommend it to anyone.
For more information on running in nature, check out the following blog post:
8. You don’t need to rely on others
Running is a great sport to start because you don’t need to rely on others to make things happen. If you’re part of a team at work, play for a sports team, are in a band or rely on others anywhere in life, you’ll know how frustrating it can be to get everyone together.
Running is different. You don’t need to get 5 people together, hire a classroom or a pitch at a set time, to make things happen. If you’re a runner, it’s all up to you. Simply decide when you want to run, lace up your trainers, and off you go. As that cute Meerkat would say on the television, ‘simples.’
9. Up your fashion game
It’s no secret, running is a fashionable sport. Adidas, Nike and Puma jackets are often influenced by running fashion. If you’re not a runner yet, you probably own – or have owned- clothing influenced by running. Running and fashion are no longer two separate identities.
It’s stylish to get your running jacket on for lunch, and it’s cool to wear your running shoes for a casual walk with a friend or romantic partner. Gear up, and embrace the stylishness that comes with being a runner.
For more information on fashionable running jackets, check out the following blog posts:
Have a read!
10. Get into some good sounds
Most of the time, running is a solo affair. It’s a bit lonely. Don’t worry, because there’s a tonne of sounds you can listen to, which will really turn the game around. Headphones are a real game-changer.
If you like music, pump it up with strong bass and an upbeat pace. It will make you feel strong an confident, causing an increase in performance (proved by research from the University of North-western). If podcasts are more your thing, tune in and learn something new from your favourite speakers. Surprisingly, lots of people also enjoy audiobooks.
What could be better than enjoying a dramatic novel, or learning about a new lifestyle habit, from a well-spoken narrator whilst you run? Downloading an audiobook or a podcast, and listening whilst you run is a great past time for many runners. Give it a go.
Whatever sounds you like, listen to them when you run. Just one brilliant reason you should start running.
For my top 10 rock song picks for running, check out the following blog post:
11. Get your metabolism fired up
One of the best things about running is how much fat you will burn. By running consistently, you will bulletproof yourself from a slow crawling metabolism. You’ll be encouraging dense muscle mass gin through your legs and core by maintaining a decent running schedule.
As you age or decline physical activity, your muscle mass decreases too. this leads to a slowed metabolism. Start running to fire up your metabolism, and make your body burn fat at a much faster rate.
12. Running can easily be fitted into busy days
Okay, it’s common knowledge most people in the 21st Century are busier than ever before. We have full-time jobs, families, religious commitments, band practice, and yoga class. A good thing about running is that it can be fitted into a tight schedule, with ease and minimal disruption.
Add it half an hour before work, during your lunch break, or even before you go to sleep. It’ll make a real difference, which you will notice. Running is fantastic because it can be done easily, anywhere, and fitted into any schedule. Start running today.
13. Increase your creativity
Novelists Haruki Murakami and Neil Gaiman are huge runners. Where do you think they get all that creative energy? It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do. we all have a creative instinct we need to fulfil.
Whether you’re writing a plot to your novel or trying to figure out problems of a personal nature, running makes you more aware of your life and encourages you to deal with problems in a more creative way. Why not give it a try?
When you’re runs become longer, and you get more experienced, you’ll find yourself exploring more on your runs. Unlike cars and bikes, pedestrians can go anywhere. Explore the trail, down by the river, or even by the beach.
Humans love exploring and discovering new places, which is why running is so ideal. Remember the happy feeling you get when you discover a new location on holiday? Okay, you probably weren’t running there, but I bet it felt good and made you smile. Get running and get exploring. It’s one of the best thing’s we humans can do.
If there’s something runners love, it’s exploring. Let your workouts take you to new, undiscovered places.
If you play tennis, squash or football, you’ll usually be confined to a pitch. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s good to get out and explore when you can. Running lets you explore the world, and helps you fulfil your inner adventurer.
Trot around your neighbourhood and find hidden parks, secret river banks and beautiful trails. Go further afield and run by the beach, another city, or a famous landmark.
For those who are very adventurous, book an event in another country and explore a new culture. For instance, my brother is doing a marathon in Ukraine soon. Had it not been for running, he never would have travelled to this country. The race will be fun, and it will be an experience he will never forget.
Start running and get exploring. It’s one of the best things about being a runner.
For more information, check out the following blog post:
15. Stronger knees
Whenever someone says running is bad for your knees, laugh in their face and say ‘according to Boston University, regular running actually improves knee health. It also strengthens bones and joints.’
If you’re someone who loves walking, hiking, or just getting around, rest assured that running won’t put an end to this! You will have stronger knees when you become a runner.
16. Live a healthier lifestyle
When you start running, you’ll notice that it’s hard to keep up with unhealthy lifestyle choices. Smoking, excessive drinking, and a poor diet, all affect a runner’s ability to perform.
To get better at running, you’ll find you naturally change your lifestyle choices. Lots of my friends who started running gave up smoking with 3 months and most of them cut down on drinking and unhealthy eating. It’s a fantastic excuse to not only get physically fit but to take back control on what you’re putting into your body.
Running is also a great reason not to drink or smoke on a night out. We’ve all been pressured to have a glass of wine or have a drag on a cigarette, when out on the town or at a party. Saying ‘I’m running in the morning’ is a great excuse, and it always goes down well. Once you give people a reason, they become accepting and stop peer pressuring you.
Start running to live a healthier lifestyle. You won’t regret it.
17. Develop relationships
We’ve all got that one person in our lives whom we want to connect with better. It could be a romantic partner, parent in law, a friend, co-worker, or even a child. Running with someone is a brilliant way to develop your relationship with them.
Not only is running a challenge you can both engage in, but it also provides an allocated time window for you and the person you want to talk to.
For example, if you want to build a stronger bond between you and a spouse. Whilst it’s great watching TV or eating dinner together, these activities aren’t too demanding and don’t present a challenge. Running, on the other hand, gives you and your partner a common goal.
By spurring each other on, talking and motivating each other, you will finish the run and achieve a stronger relationship.
Start running to develop your relationships. It’s a powerful way to connect with people in your life.
For more information on developing relationships with running, check out the blog post:
18. Inspire others
“Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating.’ John Wooden
When you start running, you’ll inspire others around you too follow suit. You might not think it, but every action you do has a consequence. Whatever you do, the people around you will be affected and influenced by it. If you start running, there are a good chance others around you will too. When I started running, my brother was quick to get some shoes and join me.
Do you know why there’s such a taboo about smoking and drinking in front of young children? Because children imitate the behaviour of those they respect. If you smoke and drink in front of your kids, research states they’re likely to copy your habits when they’re older.
Be a positive role model and inspire others around you with running. This is particularly powerful if you’re out of shape or never thought of yourself as someone who’d be into sports. If you can do it, anyone can. A powerful message to send to those in your circle.
Have a positive effect on the people around you. Start running and inspire others.
19. Welcome the challenge of running
Anyone who says running is a walk in the park obviously isn’t a runner. Whilst running is hugely enjoyable, it can also be a stimulating challenge.
Whether you’re trying to finish your first parkrun, finish at half marathon in under 1:40, fundraise a set goal for a charity before a race or get a new personal best, there’s plenty of challenge. The good thing is, you can set your own goals and achieve them. Once you’ve achieved your goal, you can set a new one and then achieve that.
Humans like challenges. It might not seem like it, but they do. Ever been in a job where the work was to easy, or cooked a recipe way below your skill level? I bet you got bored quickly and didn’t enjoy it too much.
Challenge is important because it keeps us developing, on our toes, and striving to be better than what we already are. Start running and embrace the many challenges it will throw your way. Try and enjoy the challenges, you know it’s possible.
20. Boost your immune system
There’s a lot of research that running can boost your immune system.
When we run, the body accelerates the circulation of protective cells, making it more protected against foreign pathogens which might cause illness. Running is a perfect way to stave off that winter cold or your yearly bout with flu.
The immune system is a series of organs and processes of the body that provides resistance to infection and toxins. Organs include the thymus, bone marrow and lymph nodes. Bet you never knew that!
Think of someone you know who runs, then think how much they get ill. It’s a rare occurrence they do get ill.
Running boosts, the immune system strength in your body, just one fantastic reason to take the sport up.
21. Lower your risk of disease
Carrying on nicely from the previous point, regular exercise (like running) has been shown to reduce the risk of disease. Common diseases people develop as they grow older are type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
I have had family members affected by these illnesses (some who sadly passed away) and they are horrendous conditions for anyone to develop. Massive condolences to anyone who has also lost a loved to these diseases.
Running keeps your body fit and healthy and reduces the chance of you developing these diseases. Though you won’t be completely immune, you’ll have a lowered risk. That’s better than nothing, right?
22. Increase your lifespan
Studies show that regular exercising can help you live longer by as much as 5 years. What an incredible piece of data.
The most valuable thing we have in this life is time. It’s the one thing you can’t get more of. Jim Rohn once said, ‘you can get more money, but you can’t get more time.’ Wise words.
Think of what you could do with a few extra years of life. Spend quality time with family, learn a new skill like the piano or painting, explore and travel to new places. Running regularly can help make this possible.
Run to increase your lifespan. It’s a life-changing reason to start this sport.
23. Regulate your bowel movements
Okay, this reason is slightly gross. I totally get that. However, it’s a fantastic reason to start running. If you suffer from constipation, running can help. The sport raises your heart rate and increases the bodies blood flow, also contracting your inestinal muscles. It’s effective treatment for constipation, and it can make life so much easier.
24. Get a toned figure
Running is a fast and painless way to build a figure to die for.
Running activates your glutes, giving you a toned and define behind. It also strengthens the core, giving these muscles a decent workout thanks to the spinal rotation.
The sport depends on leg muscles to get you from A to B. During the first few weeks your legs may be sore and feel a bit like jelly. Give it a bit of time and soon enough they will be strong and defined, giving you a toned look.
Stride across an uneven surface and the regular re-balancing will only enhance the benefits to your core. Who doesn’t want a six-pack, after all?
25. Increase your confidence
When you exercise, you become more confident. It’s a simple as that. Running is a great form of exercise and makes your confidence sky-rocket.
Running makes you feel good about yourself and increases your self-esteem. You believe you can do something well and perform to the best of your ability.
Even if you have a difficult parkrun and still manage to finish it, you’ll have a small sense of achievement once you cross the line. Being a runner gives you examples of when you’ve performed a task well, crucial for building confidence.
One of the main things I noticed when I became a runner was how much my confidence grew. I felt better about myself, life, and the world around me.
Get in on this life-changing benefit, become more confident with running.
26. Have more time for yourself
It’s the 21st Century, and we’re all exceptionally busy. We have chaotic jobs, a demanding family to look after, important work to do on your house, bills to pay, exams to study for. The list really is endless. It’s difficult to grab some time for yourself. In this crazy life, running can offer a solution.
Going for a run is great ‘me’ time. It’s a perfect way to clear your head, think about important things, and let your mind wander. Having time for yourself shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be a regular occurrence.
Get yourself a running routine and stick to it. You’ll soon find that having time to yourself will be a thing of the past.
27. Get better at time management
When you start running, you need to take special care to make sure you manage your time properly so you can fit your run in.
As I’ve already mentioned, our lives are incredibly busy in the 21st Century. There’s a lot to do, with little time. It pays off to plan your day a bit before starting it. You could write down what you’re going to achieve during set time intervals, in a calendar system. Unfortunately, lots of us forget to plan our day and the day ends up running us. We don’t end up running the day.
When you start running, you’ll need to plan what time of day you will run and for how long. If you don’t do so, it’s likely you’ll forget to run or perhaps your run won’t be long enough. The run might even be too long and eat into your other daily activities. When squeezing in a running workout, one needs to exercise care with their time management which develops this skill hugely.
Having decent time management skills will translate to other areas of life. Working in a job, studying for exams, cooking a recipe, dividing your time up between family and friends. We all need a little time management in our lives. Running can help you manage your time better.
28. Get better at self-motivation
One skill which is universal in all wakes of life, across every profession and every field of interest, is the ability of self-motivation.
When we want to achieve something worthwhile, it often requires a lot of effort. When something requires lots of effort, it becomes easy to procrastinate and get lazy. After all, doing nothing is easier than working towards an objective.
Embarking on a running regime means you’ll need a great deal of self-motivation. You’ll need to get find or make a training plan, get some running shoes, take yourself out of bed, plan a route, get out the front door, and go for your run. Whatever the weather, no excuses.
Once you’ve established the ability to motivate yourself as a runner, you can transfer this to other areas of your life. It’ll be easier to motivate yourself to cook, study, practice an instrument, learn a language, and so on.
Running develops the ability of self-motivation. One fantastic reason to get involved with this sport.
29. Develop the ability to work under pressure
Being a runner means you’ll need to work under pressure. Working under pressure means being able to calmly work through the current demands of a situation. Even though they’re particularly challenging and hard to overcome.
Dragging yourself through a lung-busting 5K, ascending a calve crunching hill, or bouncing along in dessert like heat on a hot day, all develop your ability to work under pressure.
Think about where else this could be of use. Dealing with an angry customer, a busy workflow, looking after multiple children at once, competing in an event, or even in a job interview.
Being able to work better under pressure is just one fantastic reason to start running.
30. Run whenever you like
Unlike gyms, sports pitches and most workout spaces, running does not have a closing time. You can run whenever you like, which makes it super convenient.
If you’re a morning person, get up at the crack of dawn and run as the sun comes up. If you prefer running at night, or have a busy daytime schedule, you might need to get your stride on in darkness. That’s fine, running doesn’t close. You have the freedom to choose your running hours, so they work for you.
It’s a rare occasion in life where you can choose the time. It’s not like work where you must be in the office at a set time every day, or like attending a study session for an exam. You can choose when to run.
If you do find yourself running at night, make sure you stay safe. Read the following blog post:
31. Learn more with a podcast or audiobook
Yes, you’re reading this correctly. Running gives you an opportunity to learn more by listening to podcasts and audiobooks. Download educational content onto your running GPS watch, smartphone or headphones, and get learning.
You could listen to anything. Politics, history, sport, music, languages, culture, travelling, DIY tips, make up tutorials, time management tips, social etiquette. The list is endless, and it really depends what takes your fancy.
Get some headphones in and listen to an educational audiobook or podcast. Just one reason running will change your world for the better.
For more information on running with podcasts and audiobooks, check out the blog posts here:
32. Support a charity
One of the best things about running is the opportunity to help others. Lots of runners choose to represent a charity when running an event, often raising lots of money in the process.
For example, I have run half-marathons representing Parkinsons UK and Macmillan in the past. I have friends and family who have been helped by both charities exceptional work, which is why I was passionate about running to raise money for them.
Websites like Run for Charity can help you find running groups and races which offer the chance to make a difference.
It’s good to run for a charity. You give something valuable back, raise awareness for a charities work, and have more motivation to train harder. After all, if you fall behind on your training you’re not only letting yourself down. You’re letting the charity and those they serve down too.
Start running to support and raise money for charity. You’ll be more fulfilled with life, I promise.
For more on why running for charity is a fantastic idea, check out the blog post:
33. Feel encouraged to travel more on foot
When you start running, you’ll soon see how easy it is to add a few miles of running in your daily life. It’s a different game when you start travelling more by foot. Not only will you be fitter, but you’ll also find life is more interesting when travelling on foot than by car, bus or train.
If you have errands to ‘run’, friends to visit, things to do and locations to visit, why not run to them? You might laugh at the suggestion first, but it’s easier to do than you think. If your workplace has showers, jog to work and cleverly fit a run into your daily schedule.
Lots of running gear, like jackets, have pockets to let you carry valuables whilst you run so you can take a phone, wallet and keys with you.
Of course, if you’re doing a big food shop or need to transport a lot of stuff from point A to B, opt for a car instead. When you start running, you’ll be encouraged to run more in everyday situations. It’s a life-changing benefit of being involved in this wonderful sport.
Being a perfectionist means holding yourself to a high standard and making yourself accountable. Running can encourage this personality trait.
Think of where this soft skill could come into use. Managing a project, raising children, cooking a meal, leading a team at work, organising an event, playing a musical instrument, and so on.
Running presents lots of opportunities to develop your perfectionism.
One way is to focus on proper running form, ensuring your head, feet and arms are moving in an energy and speed efficient manner. Alternatively, you can strive to achieve a certain time for a specific event like running a sub-20-minute 5K.
Run to develop a sense of perfectionism. A transferable skill which can be used in other areas of life.
35. Running helps you build good habits
“I have learned that champions aren’t just born; champions can be made when they embrace and commit to life-changing positive habits.” ―Lewis Howes
We all know that success in life is a result of good habits, practised day after day. A habit is something you do constantly, without being told to do it. A habit is first developed, and then becomes part of your daily routine. Bad habits include excessive drinking, smoking, and spitting.
Before I started running, I developed some bad habits which were holding me back in life. I slept through my alarm and got up late, didn’t eat breakfast, felt groggy and tired, didn’t feel motivated, lacked confidence, and stayed up late every night. It was a vicious cycle, and it kept repeating itself.
Then I started running and everything changed. Suddenly, I was getting up at 6 AM every morning. I found myself needing to eat a decent breakfast and being more motivated and energised throughout the day.
I started organising my running clothing the night before a run and found I became a neater and more systematic person. No more late nights, my early morning run meant I needed to hit the hay at a reasonable time.
Running helped me instil good habits, and I’m sure it can do the same for anyone else considering this amazing sport. Run to establish good habits, they will serve you for life.
There you have it, 35 reasons to start running
Hopefully this article has convinced you to consider a new life for yourself in the running shoes. It truly is a wonderful sport. There’s so much to see, experiences to be had, people to meet, and challenges to be accomplished.