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8 Ways Running Can Change Your Life

Time to lace up!

Top running coach, national triathlete, and Fit+ Academy founder Kaye Lopez shares, “As a multi-sport athlete, I can compare running to other endurance sports like swimming and cycling. Although it is the most basic and instinctive of the three, ironically, I find it the most challenging and painful to train. It is the session I dread the most when training competitively and where I have to dig deepest during a race.”

Nonetheless, this never stopped Coach Kaye from running. “Packing my running gear is second-nature to me along with packing the rest of my wardrobe when heading out of town!” More than a sport, running has become a way of life for her.

Here she shares the reasons why and how it could change your life too!

1. It gives you a natural high.
Ever heard of a “runner’s high?” It refers to the rush of endorphins, also known as “happy” chemicals, which your body releases after a kick-ass workout. A daily dose of feel-good hormones from running gives you lasting energy to stay upbeat for the rest of the day.

2. It redefines your idea of commitment.
With gun-starts scheduled as early as 3:30a.m., it’s inevitable for a runner to rise at ungodly hours in the morning while the rest of the population is still in bed or out partying. With the majority holding 9-to-5 jobs, managing to squeeze in regular training on top of maintaining a work-life balance forces you to understand what commitment is all about.

3. It teaches you to be positive.
You will need a lot of self-motivation and optimism to reach the finish line. Enthusiasm is an important motivational tool for runners especially when hitting roadblocks during a race—aching thighs, cramping legs—or getting past tough intervals at training.

4. It gives you a stronger immune system.
More than an effective weight-loss activity, running is easily the most effective cardiovascular exercise that helps strengthen your immune system and improve your overall fitness. Being an endurance sport, running increases your lung function, builds muscles that burn more fat, and lowers your risk of heart ailments, diabetes, and cancer.

5. It widens your social circle.
While running can be a solitary activity, it's fun training with others, too! Joining a running group and having a buddy to set and achieve personal records with are surefire ways to add fun to the sport.

6. It teaches you to be flexible with your schedule.
Incorporating running into your lifestyle doesn’t mean you let it take over your career and social life. Part of what running teaches is flexibility, which means adjusting your schedule and setting your priorities right. Injury, illness, and stress all have to be considered and managed well when setting running goals, so you don’t end up spreading yourself too thinly.

7. You become more productive.
This works hand in hand with flexibility. Being able to check off items on your daily to-do list while still managing to complete training at the end of the day gives you that feeling of fulfillment.

8. You gain a sense of achievement.
Earning the right to call yourself a “runner” has nothing to do with the number of kilometers you run or the number of races you’ve participated in. Running is a journey that you map out for yourself each time you decide to partake in it. Completing that journey and attaining your personal best gives you a sense of achievement. Some work their way from beginner to intermediate to advanced, while others are just happy completing a 30-minute morning jog. One’s level as a runner is a state of mind.

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