By Cindy Lapeña
Let’s take a step back and think about why we’re doing it—or not. It’s the start of summer and you can no longer use weather as an excuse not to run. (Not that there was very much bad weather the past wintering—which is our combined winter-spring season, since we hardly had any snow and we hardly had any thaw.) That said, you might be dragging yourself out of bed each morning and dragging yourself through the day because of ennui—or a fancy way of saying we’re bored and lazy. If this next series of articles doesn’t give you enough reasons to start running, then maybe you just weren’t meant to run. You need to remember you can always do the walk, though!
Look at these people in the photograph. Don’t they look happy? I could be wrong—they could look happy just because they’re just starting. They could look completely different halfway through or more, but really, when you’re running, all that bouncing up and down on the pavement loosens up your face muscles and you can’t help but look happy. Seriously, though, if you’ve never heard of the runner’s high, you haven’t run enough. Running, like any other form of exercise, makes you feel better because your body releases endocannabinoids and endorphins, which make you feel really good and happy. Endocannabinoids have the same effects as marijuana, while endorphins have the same effect as morphine. Essentially, both chemicals make the body feel less pain and more capable of doing things you otherwise might not try without these chemicals.
Medically speaking, exercise has been recommended as a way to ease anxiety and depression, not only because of the feel-good chemicals released in the brain, but also because exercise can reduce immune system chemicals that might worsen depression; and increase body temperature, which could have a calming effect on the body.
Many runners and articles talk about how addicting running can be. In fact, the neurochemical reactions produced by running affect the same receptors in the brain as do addictive drugs. If you have an addictive personality, instead of reaching for external stimuli, try running. You might just get addicted! My advise? Be happy. Run.