Last week had National Doughnut Day. Global Running Day is here Wednesday, giving you a good excuse to work off those treats.
Here are six reasons why you should join more than 1.2 million people from 185 countries around the world and get moving for the second annual Global Running Day:
Physical and mental health benefits: Physical exercise has long been known to improve health, and running provides an easy way to get active. Studies suggest that running can reduce the risk of heart problems and cancers as well as strengthen bones and joints. A study in PLOS Medicine showed that people who began exercising lived longer. Beyond physical health, running has the power to provide mental health benefits. The “feel-good” hormones associated with physical activity can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to a study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
Individual, but universal: Running is often solitary—treadmills are not built for two. But the individual nature of the activity does not stop runners from coming together with others who enjoy the sport either to discuss technique or participate in group runs. A runner’s personal goals can be shared and allow for connections with other runners.
Raise money for a good cause: Fundraising when participating in races or signing up for specific charities’ sponsored races has become the new norm among runners and non-runners alike. Online fundraising platforms let runners reach a wide audience when looking to raise money for a cause. The app Charity Miles, a Global Running Day sponsor, connects individuals and corporations with one of their 37 charity partners and allows users to track their distance and earn money for the charity.
You don’t need to be an athlete: Runners come in all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels. Even people who steered clear of P.E. class in elementary school learn to run, even if they just begin by walking. People run at all different speeds and distances, and runners of any skill level can reap the physical and mental benefits that come with the sport.
Room for improvement: As with any activity, there are always ways to improve as a runner.
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Apps such as Runkeeper or Nike+ Run Club allow runners track their progress on their smartphones, so goals to increase distance or decrease times have become easier than ever to achieve. Signing up for runs in your area can serve as motivation to boost running ability.
All you need to start is a pair of sneakers: Unlike activities that require equipment or a specific venue, running can be done anytime, anywhere. Routes for outdoor runs can easily be accessed online and treadmills are lined up in any local gym. Runners can choose the best time for their exercise in their schedule.
Global Running Day celebrates longtime runners and encourages those who have never run before to start. Take a pledge to run today on the Global Running Day website.