Running is a physical activity that will change your life for the better. Not only that, but a running hobby will also help you reduce stress, improve your quality of life, and improve your overall well-being.
Is running considered a hobby
Hobbies are enjoyable activities done during a person’s free time. By that definition, running is a hobby and is definitely a good recreation to adopt.
Furthermore, it is a good and productive way to spend your time not to mention also good for your physical and mental health.
When did running become a thing
The history of running dates back to ancient Greece involving wars, gods, and goddesses. But running became popular only in the 1960s through the book written by Jim Fixx titled “The Complete Book of Running.”
Accordingly, Jim Fixx was an overweight, frustrated editor who decided one day to take a jog. This jog led him to discover the many benefits of running which he then shared through his book.
What are the benefits
Jim Fixx can certainly attest to the benefits of running, as it helped him lose weight, quit smoking, and improve his mental health.
Apart from these reasons, here are some other benefits that you can get from a running hobby.
Comes with minimal cost
Even though hobbies provide fun and relaxation, some hobbies tend to become pricey to engage in. Running, on the other hand, requires only a pair of comfortable running shoes. All other stuff, such as workout clothing or gadgets, will be secondary to your running activity. They are not required.
Run almost anywhere
In as much as running does not cost an arm and a leg (no pun intended), you can also run almost anywhere. Unlike other hobbies, like swimming, for example, you can get up and go anywhere and just run.
Even when you are vacationing or visiting some friends, you can incorporate your running hobby whenever you find the time.
Provides a good social connection
With the popularity of running as a hobby, it’s easy to meet other people who enjoy the same activity. The abundance of running communities will provide you with motivation and a way to connect with others.
Having connections with whom you can share running tips and tricks will make the hobby even more enjoyable.
You can find these like-minded people on social media, in running groups, and even in your own neighborhood.
Anyone can run
When you take up a running hobby, you will immediately find out that running does not differentiate between people. Anybody with legs, even prosthetic ones can enjoy a running hobby.
With running, you can be who you are. There is no pressure for you to have a specific body to fit in. So long as you can put one foot forward, add some speed, and repeat, you’re good to go.
Good for self-improvement
Running is a solitary sport. It is a hobby that allows you to become the best version of yourself without the added pressure of others. Because you are only competing with yourself.
By basing your run on your own progress, you open yourself up to the infinite possibilities for improvement. You can most definitely apply this process of looking for ways to improve in other aspects of your life.
Provides bonding activity
Although a running hobby is an individual activity, this does not mean you cannot run WITH your family or friends.
Aside from promoting a healthy lifestyle, running also provides a fun bonding activity. Enjoying an exhilarating run with family or friends is a good way to spend time together.
This is the feeling of happiness and pleasure after running. You would imagine feeling tired after a long run but instead, the opposite will happen because of the presence of endorphins. These are feel-good chemicals produced in the brain during the activity.
A good form of exercise
Running is an aerobic type of exercise which is a good cardiovascular workout that can also help you lose weight. This is because running is a full-body workout.
When compared to other exercises, this high-impact activity burns more calories by requiring different muscles of the body to work hard.
As a form of exercise, running will help a person with the following:
Stamina and Endurance
In addition to more calorie burn, running also improves the development of muscular endurance and the amount of work you can do.
Similarly, running will help beginners build muscle strength as their bodies adjust to the new activity.
As you progress and become seriously involved with your running hobby, however, you might want to include a separate strength-training activity.
Lastly, running, like any other exercise, allows you to relax and de-stress. Running on a regular basis will help with your energy and alertness resulting in mood improvement and better concentration.
Running vs walking
Although both activities are excellent cardiovascular exercises, it is clear that running outperforms walking in terms of intensity.
One minute of vigorously intense activity is roughly equivalent to two minutes of moderate activity. This means running will burn more calories per minute of activity.
Running and walking provides the same benefits, the difference though lies in the intensity and duration of each activity.
In the end, the choice of activity will depend on the person’s goals.
Body changes due to running
Continues engagement with running as a hobby will most expectedly bring changes to your body. Although the changes are most noticeable at the beginning of your running hobby.
The following are examples of common changes:
- Weight loss
- Muscle gain
- Increased metabolism
How long will it take for the changes to effect
The effect of running on your body will depend on your goals, the regularity and intensity of your run, and your diet.
If you intend to lose weight, then expect to see the results much faster. This is because to lose weight, you need to regularly schedule and spend more time in the activity. That would mean at least 30 minutes of running at a moderate or high intensity, 3x a week.
However, if your hobby goal is mainly for regular exercise, it may take some time before you notice any changes. Since losing weight isn’t the primary goal, your runs may not be as regular or as intense.
How to start
While the act of running is simple, it is certainly not easy.
In fact, the book that popularized running received a lot of negative feedback. The main feedback is that running is too hard on the body and that it should be avoided.
Hence, if you have decided to proceed with your running hobby, then you may start with the following basics:
Find the time and get moving
For most people, the term busy is a given. And finding a solid hour in one day to take a run may not be practical. So taking a few minutes in a day to do some exercise is a good solution.
As a beginner, it’s also a good idea to first get into the habit of regular exercise. Walking, for example, is a good starter, before embarking on your first run.
Take a 15-minute brisk walk during lunchtime or a few 10-minute movements in a day. According to research, three 10-minute workouts provide the same health benefits as a single 30-minute workout.
First, consult your doctor before you start running. Most especially if you are over 40, have a BMI over 35, or have a family history of heart disease.
Second, buy shoes from a specialized running store to ensure a pair with proper fit and support. Shoes that don’t fit well or are worn out will cause serious injuries.
And third, map out your routes. Set up a few safe and scenic routes that you can alternate depending on the weather or time of day.
As a beginner in running, remind yourself to start slow in order to avoid injury. But apart from that, build up the energy to run on a regular basis. Run at a pace that you’re comfortable with so that you can go about it for a longer duration.
Don’t worry about not going fast enough as a runner should. The important part is that you are consistent in your running. You can pick up the pace later on.
Keep a log
To keep track of your progress. A notebook or a pen will do or you can always use your phone to log the miles you ran. Seeing the distance you have run will serve as a motivation.
Another measurement you can track is your heart rate. You will find that your resting heart rate will drop lower as you get fitter and more into running.
A single run will not eliminate the excess weight immediately. It will take time, and this is a great opportunity for you to practice your patience.
Trust that by being consistent, all your efforts will show on the scale or in the mirror later.
Improve speed and distance
Once you have made running a habit, your next goal is to improve your speed and running distance. By this time you have already improved yourself from being a beginner to a full-fledged runner.
By this time too, you would have also developed the discipline to focus on your breathing and mental preparedness during a run. These will undoubtedly help to make you better at running.
It is not surprising that running as a hobby has the ability to improve a person’s life. Although seemingly simple, running will develop in a person the qualities such as consistency, patience, determination, and time management.
All these, including a fit and healthy lifestyle and mental well-being. So, what are you waiting for? Lace-up those running shoes and go for a run.
What can you say about running as a hobby? Please share them in the comments.
The History of Running
The Story of Jim Fixx: The Man Who Popularized The Sport of Running
8 Reasons to start a running hobby
10 Reasons why you should take up running as a hobby
What changes in your body when you start running
How to start running today: Beginner’s guide