Running is naturally beneficial |

Running is naturally beneficial

Running is one of the world’s simplest physical activities. It may be the perfect sport. After reading about its health benefits and its easy start-up, you may be anxious to find out for yourself if it could become your favorite activity.See if its benefits match your fitness goals. Running prevents heart disease, lowers blood pressure, and relieves stress. Running prevents obesity and promotes healthy weight loss.Running improves mood, energy levels, and sleep quality. Running boosts alertness, creativity, and decision-making.Confidence, self-esteem, and a healthy body image are common secondary benefits of running.Weight-bearing exercise, such as running, contributes to bone strength and the prevention of osteoporosis.Could there be a simpler sport, by nature? Most animals run instinctually. After we crawl, we walk and then run. The human body was made to walk and run.Another simplistic feature of running is that it requires minimal gear. In this age of excessive gear, it is almost unimaginable that this sport requires virtually no gear. You can start by walking in your favorite sneakers. As you progress to regular running, you may wish to purchase more comfortable sneakers.After a decade of wearing cheaper sneakers, I finally splurged on nicer running shoes. I have never worn more comfortable shoes. I replace them periodically (with the same exact shoe), depending on my mileage and how my feet feel. Because my sneakers feel like puffy clouds under me, I am more motivated to run.Erring toward simplicity, I wear loose layers. I can run in any ol’ sweats. In the summer, I wear plain T-shirts and loose shorts.Former Olympic runner and running expert Jeff Galloway describes the ways we sabotage our runs. Jeff warns us not to overdress, saying, “You should feel slightly chilled when you start running on a cool day. If you bundle up until you’re toasty warm, you’ll be too hot by the end of the first mile.”Another illustration of its simple nature is location. You can run virtually anywhere. Step out your front door and run around your neighborhood. You can run on designated paths, or choose the natural beauty and comfort of running on trails. Furthermore, you can run wherever you travel.If you have health concerns about running, consult a fitness professional. You may find running to be your preferred medicine. For example, joint pain may diminish as you lose extra weight that puts stress on your joints.If you should experience any discomforts as you begin a running program, implement basic first aid, starting with rest and ice. Then, according to running authority Dr. George Sheehan, “Treat the reason, not the result.”Whether you prefer to run alone, losing yourself in a meditative state, or enjoy the companionship of partners, you might get hooked on the benefits and simplicity of running!Nina Schnipper provides fitness training and massage therapy, and she has run two marathons. For a listing of Web sites for new runners, contact her at

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