Running- The exercise with Many benefits

Since the age of fifteen, I have enjoyed running and it has been a consistent part of my life since. When I started studying at  Reading University, I knew I wanted to be part of a running team as it would provide me with an activity to do outside of studying and work.  During my first year of University, I took part in The Reading Knights University Athletics Club (RUKA). This has not only allowed me to be part of a team but also gain social interaction which has been vital during a pandemic. Many people think that running has to be a solitary sport but running as a group can create confidence and enthusiasm. No matter what pace you are running, you are always accepted as part of the team.  I used to do ParkRun and it was an amazing experience to see people from all walks of life and ages come together to enjoy running and encourage others towards the finish line. It’s definitely something to consider taking part in as you not only get the benefit of running as part of a community, but you are also supporting something which is so influential to people’s mental and physical health. Running has helped people combat mental health problems not only during the pandemic, but every day. You improve your self-esteem if you run regularly, which helps with depression and anxiety. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins.  Endorphins cause a positive feeling in the body. For example after a run or workout you often feel a “euphoric” feeling which is known as a “runner’s high”, this causes an energizing and positive perception on life. For me, running has been a way to de-stress and relax as well as working on my fitness. Running has provided me with a consistent routine. I can run at certain times of the day and use it to break up my day into segments so I am not overwhelmed with studying all the time. I recommend running to any student who is struggling with motivation or mental health, especially during pivotal times of the year such as exam season. It gives you motivation when you are stuck in a never ending cycle of self-doubt and anxiety and helps release tension when you are sat at a desk all day.  Running is an activity for everyone, Whether you are a person who prefers a casual jog after a busy day or you want to compete in various running events. You will never be judged for your ability and that’s the beauty of it, you can tailor your runs to whatever distance and pace you want to do. I personally recommend if you are running for the first time to set realistic goals rather than trying to achieve too much too quickly. Downloading the Couch to 5k app is a great place to start because it provides you with a set plan for running that is not too challenging to complete. Above all running should be fun, never feel like you have failed if you struggle. The importance is in trying your best, getting outside and overcoming all those obstacles that stand in your way. Written by Sophie Jordan Picture by Molly Butler

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