The reasons to love running, or walking.
By Stef Philippou - Dip. in PT, CHEK Pro
I have been asked this question many times; why do you run marathons, what do you think about whilst running and what do you do for so long on your own?
My answer is quite simple really; because I love it and it feels great - both physically and mentally!
To put it directly, we as human beings are designed to run. To get more scientific and technical, we move as bipedal mammals in what is called ‘gait’.
Gait involves walking, jogging and sprinting. Movement on two legs at different speeds, cadences (steps per minute) and intensities (effort). This is how we have survived and thrived for so many years. We have been able to move around the terrain at different tempos, or speeds, with less surface area on our bodies being exposed to the sun’s rays and heat, all on two legs as opposed to four like other animals in the wild.
Gait is one of the most natural and easy to perform primal movements. No equipment needed, just some clothes and a pair of training shoes, unless you go barefoot of course - another discussion altogether.
Walking, jogging or sprinting if done intelligently and with the correct biomechanics, how our bodies move properly, can be very beneficial not just physically and mentally but also emotionally.
Have you ever been for a run or walk outside, and come back feeling better than you did before you went out?
I have, many times. In fact that’s one of the reason’s I do it – for the ‘runner’s high’ feeling both during the run and afterwards.
This rush of endorphins, feel-good hormones, gets pumped through the body and makes us feel so good. We also feel this way due to mental clarity and lack of mental stress or overload on the system. Being out in nature we thrive from the fresh clean air, natural flora and fauna smells, interesting sights, as well as the whole adventure of the route.
Running, walking or sprinting is a great way to activate your muscles and cardiovascular system, and set your mind free. Something we can all do with considering the amount of screen time, indoor work and constant mental fatigue and stress we put ourselves under all day long.
This free, simple to do and most natural movement pattern is best done outside and for a duration of ten to thirty minutes, or even more if you can. You will feel a noticeable shift in how you feel and function for the rest of your day. So don’t worry if you can’t walk or run for very long, just do what you can, with what time you have available, to start freeing your body and mind!
And oh, one more thing, if you are going to take your phone and constantly look at it whilst running or walking, then don’t expect to come back feeling as stress free and energised as you would without looking down at your phone screen. Put some headphones on and listen to your favourite music, podcast or audiobook without scrolling through social media or replying to emails, as that would kind of defeat the whole purpose of relaxing your body and mind. Listening to something whilst being in the zone may mean you stay out even longer than planned, because if you stopped then you won't be able to listen to anymore songs, podcast episodes or chapters of your audiobook.
31st March 2021