The whirlwind of 2020 has been an opportunity for me to reflect on exercise and why we do it. Through distancing and isolation to keep the community safe, gyms, pools and team sports were all put on hold for the greater good. This was difficult for many of us, me included, who love to exercise with friends and enjoy the competitive team sport environment.
Surprisingly, it also gave me a new outlook on exercise from an angle I hadn’t thought of much before. With soccer off the cards for a while, I decided to increase my running load to stay fit for when the season would take off again.
At first it was “run this distance”, or “beat this time”, which inevitably pushed the bar higher and higher and left the outcome always just short of satisfying.
Thankfully, my watch and phone went flat one morning on a run (should’ve flicked the power-point to ON). I ran without a goal in mind, enjoying the breeze, sunshine and focusing on my breathing. It was a real wake up call for me. I realised that I exercise to feel good, to be healthy, to look after my body, and to enjoy movement.
The health benefits of running are well documented in terms of reducing mortality risks, as well as improving mental health. There doesn’t have to be a gold, silver or bronze, just the feeling that you’ve looked after yourself well.
So, coming full circle – if you’re keen to run but don’t know where to start, take the pressure off yourself and focus on enjoyment. Pick your favourite song on your playlist, head down the beach with a friend, or treat yourself to a run up to the local coffee shop. The main thing is to have a go.
If you would like some more guidance on how to make this happen, our running assessments at the clinic will take a big picture look at the way you move, and set you up on the road to success so you can enjoy running in an ongoing way.