It takes about three weeks for you to start seeing a difference in your body and when you get up off the sofa and get your butt running. Another three weeks, and others start to notice the changes in you, too.
But, like you, running isn’t just about what’s on the outside. Sure, you’ll look great, but what’s going on inside is even better.
You’ll Be Cleverer. Runners are more intelligent than their non-running friends. Fact.
Cambridge University neuroscientists proved that running stimulates brain-cell growth in the memory and learning area of your brain, the hippocampus, enhancing faster memory recall. During running, your brain, also, laps up the glorious oxygen- and glucose-filled blood pumping faster through your body, making your brain faster and more alert.
In the Cambridge study, mice that ran 24km a day had a 50% better memory than mice that didn’t run at all. Proof enough that training for running for those that can’t on 3 May 2015 is a good idea, right?
You’ll Be Happier. For two reasons. Running with friends gives you a great chance to catch up, have a chat, have a moan and have a giggle. Being sociable releases oxytocin, the cuddle hormone, which reduces stress, strengthens your heart and your relationships and generally makes life feel wonderful.
Running alone, your brain gets a bit of down-time. It drifts off and solves problems, remembers happy holidays and works out those little brain knots, so when you get home, even if you left in a rotten mood, you’re much happier.
You Can Say Goodbye to Stress. No one likes stress, and the hormone that joins stress – cortisol – makes growing new brain cells particularly tough, but running (especially getting social and running with friends) increases blood flow and happy hormones, fighting off the stress imposed by deadlines, decisions and other deadwood that irritates life.
None of this is about how far or fast you can run, it’s just about getting out there and giving your body, mind and soul a bit of a treat. The smiles that dominated the Wings for Life World Run 2014 is testament to running being a holistic joy and not just something that gets you fit (although it does that as well).
I started running just under two years ago. I was overweight, bordering on obese with high blood pressure and in danger of becoming diabetic or having a stroke. I joined a club and made new friends. Running has become my lifeline. ~ Eimear O'Connor, Running in Dublin, Wings for Life World Run 2015