If my seventeen year old self could see me writing this now I think they would faint – the five reasons I love running! Honestly, this is something I never thought I would be writing about on my blog. I used to absolutely despise running and when I first started the gym I went with hopes that I would lose weight with as little vigorous movement as possible. Three years later and I’m running on a regular basis and have actually grown to love it!
I started attending circuits classes in December and I found out that I could actually run. In primary school I was one of the fastest runners in the class and even won the Sportsperson Award at the end of the year. In secondary school I lost all my love for sport. I blame it on the terrible PE teachers who didn’t care about any sports other than rugby or netball. I danced about three nights a week, but slowly my fitness levels decreased and I started to gain weight – something which really got me down as I had always been so tiny.
After two years of the gym and starting to increase my fitness levels and experience with lots of different classes, I decided to attend circuits. I had tried it two years before and struggled so much that I decided never to go back. I was so nervous but finished the class feeling so proud of myself as not only had I kept up, but I was ahead of a lot of the regular circuits goers. Since then I have attended circuits classes up to four times a week, and I absolutely love it.
We now spend the summer evenings running on the track and I have gradually seen so many changes in my body. I even go running with Dan in the evenings and there are so many benefits that I have found from running regularly.
I have been on a health and fitness journey for the best part of eight-nine months. I started eating a lot more healthily before that, but have really focused since the end of the summer last year and in the past year and a half I’ve dropped about three dresses sizes, from an unhealthy size 10-12 to a healthy size 6-8. Cutting out junk food and sugary snacks was the turning point, but I believe these circuits classes have really aided my weightloss. Running has shifted the excess weight I wanted to say goodbye to as it is said to burn more calories than any other activity.
What’s more it’s really helped me to tone up, especially my legs and bum. It really strengthens the muscles and helps you get those pins summer-ready! Your legs get physically stronger and you will see a visible difference. This has really helped improve my confidence too.
3. Seeing my fitness levels improve
I can remember the first time I went out on the track for our circuits class this summer. I honestly found it so difficult, and the long distance runs really tired me out. My heart rate was so fast, and by the end of the hour I couldn’t wait to go home and eat and sleep. I also had serious DOMS in the muscles the next day, but by the fifth track session I was so amazed by how much better I was coping. I still do find it difficult but the change since my first session and now is incredible.
4. Clearing the mind/Stress relief
The past few weeks have been horrendous for me, having to deal with dissertations, university assignments and just being a complete ball of stress. The best way to combat this was a work out and running outside in the evening air was perfect. I used to look forward to the circuits classes and then myself and Dan started going to the beach for runs too, and it really helped to calm me down, regather my thoughts and allowed me to focus on the task in hand afterwards. As you run your mind floats away and you get a chance to release all those negative thoughts. It really was a lifesaver for me. It improves your mood and is also said to help with anxiety and depression.
5. Improving sleep
The best thing apart from the health and wellbeing benefits? After a good run you will definitely have a good night’s sleep. I sleep quite well anyway, but running knocks me out for a good eight hours and I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. Improved nights’ sleep also boosts your energy levels and I find I am much more enthusiastic!
These are just some of the benefits I have found for myself but there are so many more health benefits, such as reducing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease and even improving your brain cognition. Don’t get me wrong, it took ages to get used to running and it’s been a love hate relationship. If running isn’t for you then a nice long walk will work just as well. Being out in the fresh air and being healthy works wonders for me!
My next challenge is to improve my long distance running. I find it quite difficult but it helps having a training buddy to pull you along. I would love to sign up to and complete a 10k at the end of the year.
What’s your favourite kind of exercise?
Lots of love,