7 Reasons I Run (That Have Nothing To Do With Weight)

  Jan 14, 2019  |  #Running

This post is a bit of a continuation from last week’s post about enjoying exercise vs. forcing exercise.

I thought I would talk a little bit about my personal relationship with running and exercise, why I run and what it means to me. It also relates to this post about enjoying running when you aren’t training for anything.

Sunset running

I grew up very athletic. In fact, I’ve always been into sports.

I played little league baseball, basketball and soccer growing up. I tried karate and dance, but neither of those spoke to me in the same way as team sports. When I got to high school, I continue to play baseball.

My freshman year, I was the only girl on the boy’s freshman baseball team. Sophomore year, I made the transition to softball (which was totally weird for me at first), but I figured I’d have more of a future in softball, and played that throughout the rest of highschool and into college.

 

After college, I wanted to find a way to stay active and “stay in shape.” Running seemed like an easy way to do so.

I could do it whenever I wanted and on my own time. And to be honest, right out of college, I did enjoy running but I also looked at it as a way to “maintain weight.”

While I never tried to actively lose weight, I cringe now associating running with weight, but that was all I knew as a young 21-year-old.

Girl tying athletic sneakers

Now, my relationship with running (and exercise) is so much more authentic, fluid and true. I run because I love it.

I run no matter what my body looks like or how it will change.

So, I’m sharing these reasons why I love running in hopes that it can help you find what form of movement you enjoy.

It definitely does not have to be running, and you can fill in the blank with something else. Maybe it’s yoga, crossfit, HIIT workouts, pick up basketball or soccer, or spin classes, or gardening, or what have you.

The reasons I love running (that have nothing to do with weight)

Running Can Bring Out Creativity

There is even some research on running (and other forms of exercise) on improved attention span, verbal memory, executive function and thinking skillsThis is an interesting article in The Guardian that talks about running and creativity

For me, I find that running stimulates and inspires new ideas. It helps me get excited about things, whether it’s an event or gathering I have coming up, a project I want to do, or a blog post I want to write.

This is one of the ways I truly feel running brings out the best in me.

Running Can Help Cope with Stress and Difficult Emotions

If I’m torn or stressed about something, going for a run can help me work it out in my head. Or, if there’s a difficult conversation I want to have or some hurtful thoughts I have, running helps me organize them beforehand.

However, the caveat here is that, like with food, running probably shouldn’t be your ONLY mechanism for coping with stress and hard feelings. I wouldn’t recommend turning to running or exercise every time you’re stressed.

That could lead to a tarnished relationship with exercise.

While exercise can be a reliable way to cope with and reduce stress, it’s important to consider other outlets sometimes, too.

The reasons I love running (that have nothing to do with weight)

Running Can Be A Great Way to Socialize

We all crave social connection with people who share similar interests. It’s why new moms form mom groups, or people join bible studies.

As humans, we seek and crave connection, and when we can relate to people it deepens that connection on so many levels.

I do enjoy running with others when time allows. But, also, even just having conversation with strangers who happen to be runners feels easier.

It’s easy to talk about the routes you run, the races you’ve done, your training, etc. And this is coming from an introvert!

The reasons I love running (that have nothing to do with weight)

Running Can Boost Your Mood

Yep, endorphins. You’ve probably experienced that mood boost before after a long run or a good quality workout. I think some of this ties into my ideas and creativity. If I’m feeling good, I feel on top of the world.

I feel like I can conquer anything, and I may be more likely to jump on board for crazy ideas.

I just feel more relaxed after I run, especially if it’s the beginning of the day. Maybe you can relate? I feel that I can go into other situations in my day feeling more prepared, have more patience and think more clearly on days that I run. And drink coffee.

Running Can Teach You Goal Setting

It can also keep you motivated to working towards your goals. I’m the kind of person who likes to start things and not necessarily see them through. There’s so much to be doing constantly.

So, I start something and am very diligent at first, and then I fall off. I think many of us do this. Anyway, with running, if you’re training for a race or goal, it’s more motivating to follow through, especially if you have a time or performance goal.

You can increase your dedication by running with other runners or finding community as well because you’ll have more support.

Running teaches me discipline. While I may feel overwhelmed with all I have to do, other runners have the same amount of time in each day and they make time.

It helps me evaluate other things I’m doing and reflecting on if they are truly bringing me joy and a good use of my time. I know running and other forms of exercise leave me feeling uplifted and make me a better person, so they are a good use of my time.

Running Helps Me Feel Like Myself

I don’t really know how to explain this in any other way except that running makes me feel like “me.” I’m sure other runners can relate to this statement and understand what I mean.

If it’s been a few days without a run, I start to feel “off.” My patience and temper are shorter. I’m not the wife, friend or mother I want to be.

In part, I think this is due to the buildup of stress and tension. On these days, it’s important I try to incorporate some other forms of self-care and stress-relief, such as a bath, some light yoga or stretching, meditating or just some quiet time to myself.

Note: I am referring to when I want to run but am not able to fit it in my day. On days I don’t have the energy, motivation or desire to run, I don’t share the same sentiments.

The reasons I love running (that have nothing to do with weight)

Running Helps Me Discover More About the World

By this, I mostly mean sites and exploring new places. When traveling, I always make it a priority to fit at least one run in to run in a new setting. I’ve seen so much more through running than I ever would through sitting in a car.

The world is a beautiful place, and seeing it on foot is one of the best ways to find the hidden crevices, focus in on the details and minutiae of our daily lives, and appreciate nature.

My three favorite runs have taken place on the Seawall in Vancouver, Muir Woods in California, Ogden, Utah, and Forest Park in Portland.

Seawall Running in Vancouver

Reasons to run with text overlay

Other Running Posts You May Enjoy

How Running is Similiar to your relationship with food

Running when you aren’t training for anything

Running and motherhood

Why you shouldn’t diet while training

I’m linking up with Wendy, Holly and Kim for The Weekly Wrap!

Why do you run? What has running brought you? Where has been your favorite place to run?

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19 responses to “7 Reasons I Run (That Have Nothing To Do With Weight)

  1. Totally agree with all of these, ESPECIALLY the last one about exploring the world! I’ve travelled to some unique places for work (6 weeks in Singapore, 6 weeks in India) and I ran nearly every day OUTSIDE in those places, which gave me such a different experiences than most of the coworkers I travelled with. It’s an incredible way to explore.

    Great post!

    1. That’s so cool that you’ve been to such neat places for work, I bet you have so many fun running stories and memories.

  2. These are beautiful reasons to run and I think I share most of them. Unlike you, I wasn’t really into sports growing up and I have only been running for two years, but I’ve found that running has made me “find myself” and gain “balance”. Before running, I felt I was having to be a mum, a wife, an employee, a sister, a friend, etc etc, but I wasn’t having enough time for me – and running kind of gave me that. It didn’t start that way – at first I thought it was just for fitness/ weight loss, but it has become so much more. We were on holiday last week, and I actually ran while on holiday. That is something the “old me” would never have dreamed of doing, LOL.

    1. I love the way you described that – that running gave you your “me” time that wasn’t devoted to another title. So true!

  3. I’m convinced long runs can solve any problem. If there’s anything that bothers me during a week then I always find some sort of solution during it.

    Running continues to teach me that I’m stronger than I think I am. There’s so much to love with running that anything weight related isn’t even on my top 50 reasons of why I love to run.

    1. It’s so crazy to me how I can just think more clearly and find more answers during a run, one of MANY reasons I love it.

  4. I completely agree! I have come up with some great ideas (and some crazy ones too) while running. My running buddies are my best friends and my social life is pretty much built around my runs.

  5. The reasons I run can vary from day to day, but all of these are reasons I run! Sometimes I do have “forced” runs, but that’s usually if I’m training fro something.

  6. Running mostly helps me not be cranky to my family members 🙂 So, yes, stress relief. It sets the tone for my day. Running in new places (vacation) is a great way to see the town. Muir Woods would be awesome! I really enjoy running around our beach resort when we stay in Mexico. Being up so early and seeing the sunrise is the best!

    1. That’s another thing – some of the beautiful views you can only see while running. Sunrises and sunsets are some of the best.

  7. 100% YES to all of these! I’m a writer and get some of my very best ideas on the run but it can also be my meditative time. I’ve been running for almost 20 years now and I can honestly say it’s the best thing I ever did for myself and has very little to do with weight loss. Great post!

  8. these are wonderful reasons to run and I can relate a lot to what you wrote.

    however I was never into sports and I had a weight problem from around the time that I was 20 until just over 30. So running started for me to lose weight, and I continue to work on balancing food, my fueling needs and my runs and believe that I can perform better with less weight. Not much less, but less. If I was not chasing down my PR dreams, I woudn’t care about being 10 – 15 lbs over the “ideal” running weight.

  9. Oh yes, I am 100% on board with all of this. I really don’t care any more about running changing my body. I do it because it copes so well with emotions or stress. It helps so well to give me time to pray and think and just get outside of my own problems and remember just how AMAZING God is and how He has the whole world in His hands. I love running for making new friends. Last year we did a marathon and I got to talk to one lady for almost 12 miles. It was SO enjoyable, and it made the time fly by. I truly do running now not for the calories; I do it because I love it, and I hope if I live to be 80 I can keep running then. I know it will look different on me, but I know that the reasons for running will stay the same.

  10. I definitely took up running for the maximum calorie burn per hour (according to those charts) but now I run for the reasons you mentioned. I love getting outside, clearing my head, and seeing what there is to see. I had one biz trip to Vancouver and loved that same running route!

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