Today’s post is doing double duty as I continue to write about the basics and also take part in Works-for-me-Wednesday. If you’re here from Shannon’s blog, thanks for visiting. If you like what you see, please consider subscribing to my feed!
Monday we talked about how to focus on the basics, and yesterday I wrote about spending time with God. Today we’re moving from the spiritual to the physical, because one of the most influential basics in my life is exercise.
I have a T-shirt from a 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) race. It says “New Brookland Lions Club: May 20, 2000.” I wore that short to work out in the other day and was amazed as I considered the fact that I’ve been running – kind of – for more than 8 years. In 2000, I had just finished up eighth grade and was looking ahead to high school. I had hardly run at all, but my mom was going to run in that race and so I had been doing some running with her.
Since then, I’ve run cross country races in high school and a few road races in college (a 5-mile leg of a marathon relay, a 10K in April). And since I started college I’ve gone to the gym fairly regularly.
I go in phases. Sometimes I’m really pumped up about it, especially if I’m training for something specific. Other times I hardly go at all. I’ve rode the exercise rollercoaster many times, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that I feel better when I run. It’s amazing what endorphins can do.
I’m not saying that running and exercise is a cure-all. But running fills a lot of different needs. Allow me to elaborate.
Running lets you be alone.
I don’t have kids that I need a break from, but everybody enjoys some peace and quiet. And I’ll bet you that if you’re with a lot of other people (say, with family over the holidays) and you say you’re going to go for a run, no one will offer to join you.
Running gives you time to pray and think.
My mind and heart are always refreshed when I get back from a run. When you don’t have anything else to focus on, your mind tends to wander to what’s heaviest on your heart. Maybe someone you know is sick. My mind often goes to the little girl I sponsor in Peru. Even if you go on a short run, that’s 20-30 minutes or uninterrupted time for you to pray and work through whatever’s on your mind.
Running helps you stay healthy.
Notice that I didn’t say running helps you lose weight. It will do that if you’re paying attention to other factors as well (like your diet), but even if you’re not losing weight, you’re maintaining health by forcing your body to exert itself.
Running is so easy, anyone can do it.
This is one of the reasons I started running. I’d never been good at games that involved balls, so running was a natural choice. And to be a runner, you don’t have to run 4-minute miles. You just have to get out there and run.
Running is fairly inexpensive.
All you really need is a good pair of shoes.
Running is something you can do anywhere.
Of course, be smart about it, but as long as you’re in a safe environment, you can run no matter where you are. And in my opinion, running outside is way more fun than running inside, anyway.
If you don’t exercise regularly, it’s not hard to start running. You can take a look at the beginner’s guide I posted on my other blog earlier this year if you need help getting started. And feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me with any questions you have.
Seriously. Running works for me.