Today, Alison King of Run For Your Life has joined us for a guest blog on the benefits of running…
Four Reasons Why You Should Run For Your Family’s Sake and How You Can Fit It In
It’s a common sight on Facebook – memes celebrating how tired mums are for chasing after their kids, forever cleaning up after them (the mini tornadoes they are), the interrupted sleep, the lack of sleep, the constant demands on their attention.
Is it any wonder mums are frazzled?
There has to be a better way!
Apart from getting an au pair to take over, there is a way to get more energy.
This might sound like an oxymoron, but getting physically active and using up energy is the best way to create more time for yourself and have the energy to be present for your family.
It might not solve the constant mess, nor the accompanied visits to the bathroom, but running can help with other aspects of parenting.
Here are four reasons why you should consider running to benefit you and your family…
Running boosts your energy
When you’re feeling sluggish or tired, running is a great way to boost your energy. Those who run first thing in the morning report having improved energy levels during the day. In a 2012 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health proved that just 30 minutes of running during the week for three weeks boosted sleep quality, mood, and concentration during the day. If you combine exercise with a diet that supports boosted energy levels then you’re onto a winner.
This increased energy comes from the rush of the mood-elevating hormone dopamine.
Running gives you more focus
If you have an exam or an important presentation to make the best thing you can do is go for a run. Exercise improves your brain in the short term by raising your focus for two to three hours afterwards.
A review of 19 studies published in the British Medical Journal found that short 10 to 40 minute bursts of exercise led to an immediate boost in concentration and mental focus, likely from improving blood flow to the brain.
British workers were surveyed on a day they worked out and a day they didn’t. People said they made fewer mistakes, concentrated better, and were more productive on the day they were active.
Running makes you feel better about yourself
Regular runners report an increase in their confidence and self-esteem, and the self-esteem benefits of running are increased if you set a specific goal, such as running a 5K or even a marathon, and accomplish it.
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body.
For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energising outlook on life.
Research has shown that healthy adults who exercise regularly are generally happier than those who don’t.
If you run your children will be more active
Mums who run aren’t just improving their own health, they are passing on healthy habits to their children.
In a 2014 study called Activity Levels in Mothers and Their Preschool Children, researchers found that mums who are physically active are likely to have children who are also active.
The study showed that for every minute the mother was moderately-to-vigorously active, the child was likely to engage in 10 percent more of the same level of activity.
“If a mother was one hour less sedentary per day, her child may have spent 10 minutes less sedentary per day,” the report said. “Such small minute-by-minute differences therefore represents a non-trivial amount of activity over the course of a week, month and year.”
It also stated that every hour of sedentary time in mothers would result in 10.8 minutes of sedentary time for children.
It’s all very well stating these health benefits, but how are you going to fit it in?
Start slowly – don’t aim to run 5km straight off the bat. Start with a run/walk routine with brisk walks and slow runs and gradually you will build up your aerobic fitness – and the desire to keep going.
Get a training buddy – you are more likely to get up and out for your run if you have to meet someone.
Follow a training plan and plan some non-food related rewards for when you reach milestones.
You don’t have to have any running experience to become a runner.
There are thousands of women, just like you, who are making running part of their everyday habits and they haven’t always been runners.
Mums who have decided they want something for themselves, mums who have gone through relationship break-ups, serious illness, child bereavement, miscarriage, mums who have excess weight they want to shed.
It doesn’t matter where you are right now, you can get on the track (or road) to become a runner. All it takes is a spark to ignite.
Alison King is a marathoner, Ironman triathlete and mum to a four-year-old boy who is inspired to be active every day. She started running as a means to lose weight when she tipped the scales at almost 100kg. She didn’t expect to gain all the other benefits. She lives in paradise, aka Rotorua, New Zealand where she runs her own coaching business Run For Your Life. Follow her on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/runforyourlifecoaching or go to http://www.runforyourlifecoaching.co.nz.
The next intake of the Run For your Life 5km Mum Run programme kicks off on May 9.
Sign up now and change your life: http://runforyourlifecoaching.co.nz/5km-mum-run/