Running and mindfulness

by Ethan Merrifield
Stripes Europe

Life is stressful, and it seems as if it is more stressful by the day. There also seems to be an increased number of runners in the last few years. When everyone has a friend, sibling, parent or even grandparent who are signed up for the next 5k, it leads one to believe that running has become popular for a reason. People are discovering that running is a great source of stress relief.

Now of course, everyone remembers gym class; the endless laps the teacher made us run as we watched the clock tick slower than it ever had before. Similarly, we have all seen the T-shirts that joke “I only run when I am being chased,” as if that is a source of pride. There are plenty of ways in which people dislike the idea of running or the practice of running. But maybe there is something important in it for all these moms and their running clubs.

 The social and individual benefits of running are wonderful. To join a running club or to find friends to run with is certainly a way to continue the healthy hobby, but the mental benefits of running are particularly helpful. A fast-paced life creates stress, but, by moving your body quickly, you can reduce stress. It becomes a mental detox for your cluttered mind.

Running helps to reset your mind because it can give your body a semi-repetitive task to meditate on. The action of this meditation is perfect for helping to unload the distractions in your head after a long day. You have a space in which you can process important thoughts. In time, all the little annoyances in a day fade away on runs. Running long distances can be a challenge at first, but it gives a person a strong presence of mind with time to think as well as a way to relieve tension. Going for a run is as much meditation as it is exercise.

The rising popularity of running clubs and 5k groups are held up by the social setting and people’s increased concern for their own health. But one of the best aspects of running is the mindfulness and mental rest. People are beginning to understand that having a running routine helps to give your brain a rest from a stressful job or responsibilities. For their own mental health, people are discovering a love for running and you can too!

 

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