How many times have you found yourself in a conversation about your training for the next race and you get the typical eye-roll from friends and family? Before you lose your mind in frustration with their lack of understanding, here are few things to remember about why they just don't get it and you should keep encouraging them to join you.
Here is my short list for the benefits of running beyond the obvious and why "you're crazy" is the best compliment you can receive. (I'd share this article with your non-running friends as a gentle nudge to join the "madness")
Not and single person you know is going to disagree with you on this one. Life can be crazy. Between kids, work, bills, social responsibilities, its great for your soul to have some time to unplug and just focus on your body. Its a proven fact that physical exercise reduces mental stress. So instead of binge watching House of Cards and polishing off that quart of Tillamook and brisk run can set the world right again.
We covered this extensively in a previous article which you can find here. Much of the reason running helps can be traced to endorphins—feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression, provide pain relief and are responsible for the “runner’s high”—released during a run. Ditto for dopamine, another neurotransmitter released during periods of intense cardiovascular activity that has been shown to help counter mental dark clouds. According to a recent study from the Journal of Neuroscience, movement also increases the brain’s GABA neurotransmitters, which help to control anxiety and fear. So get out there after that breakup, job loss, or loss thats got you feeling blue.
You may not always realize it, and your non-running friends definitely miss this one, but running makes everything else better. I mean everything. Just like endorphins are trigger to help with your mood, running gets the body and mind in sync. Just remind your friends that the following are benefits to running:
a. Improved mental focus.
b. Better sex.
c. Less moody and more in control of emotions.
d. More feeling of happiness.
e. Regulates your blood sugar
f. Better sleep
I'm sure you could add to this list with your own take on the benefits, but its safe to say running does more for you than just keep you in shape.
So next time you get the heavy sigh from your loving friends and family and they call you "crazy", just remind them and yourself, that "normal" is feeling depressed, sluggish and being ok with little sleep and unsatisfying sex. Remind yourself that the person in the mirror might just be crazy after all, and that's a blessed thing when you consider what normal looks like.