3 Non-Physical Benefits to Running

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Fitness Goals in the New Year

We all know the physical benefits to running. I won’t waste your time by repeating them here. However, people who don’t run often miss the non-physical benefits. To me, these are even more valuable than the physical ones.

If your goals for the new year include losing weight or improving your health, you might be thinking about running as an option. But let's be honest. It can get pretty cold out there right now.

Expand Your Why

It can be hard to stay motivated when an icy wind hits your face and your nose starts running as fast as your feet. A few weeks into the new year and you might be tempted to quit.

But there's a trick to staying on course and reaching your goals. As my wife Gail always says, “People lose their way, when they lose their why.”

When fitness isn't enough motivation to overcome the discomfort, you just need to expand your why so you can stay motivated in the face of discomfort and difficulty. It's like putting more fuel in your tank.

3 Reasons to Keep Running

In addition to improved fitness, I've enjoyed three non-physical benefits to running. This is not an exhaustive list, but these three are highly compelling to me. They just might help you swing your feet out of bed and lace up your running shoes too.

  1. Running provides me with “think time.” I don’t know about you, but I can be so busy I rarely have enough time to think. Yet, I know instinctively that I really can’t accomplish anything significant without serious reflection, dreaming, and planning.

    Running affords me this opportunity. While running I've dreamt up new projects, figured out solutions to major problems, not to mention outlines for new blog posts.

  2. Running provides an opportunity for personal growth. Often, I listen to audio books, podcasts, or courses when running. It's one of the best ways I know to fit more “reading” into a cramped schedule.

    The great thing is that I find myself looking forward to running, because I am eager to get back to what I am reading. For example, I just finished The Road to Sparta by Dean Karnazes. I've been known to push my mileage just to have more time to listen and learn!

  3. Running provides the chance to recharge. It sounds counterintuitive, especially to non-runners, but running actually gives you more energy that it consumes. Some people think, “I can’t run or walk. I just don’t have the energy.”

    What they don’t realize is that if they would just hit the pavement for thirty minutes in the morning, they would be more energetic for the rest of the day. Running clears your mind, improves circulation, and eliminates toxins. I never feel better than right after a good run.

I have often told Gail, “Whatever you do, please make sure I keep running. Nothing I do pays more dividends than this.” Who knew that there were so many non-physical benefits?

What other non-physical benefits do you see to running (or walking)?

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