Do you want to give running a go this January? Or simply get outdoors more? You have plenty of motivation to go running this January.
January doesn’t have to be a blue month. There are ways to get active, get outdoors more and really focus on your running goals.
Whether you’ve set yourself a goal to get fit, or to simply become more active, here are my top reasons to take up running this January.
Running is free
So many people take up running around the world because it’s free, fun and has a low barrier to entry.
Unlike other forms of exercise like cycling and tennis, for example, you need fairly little to get started.
So if you’re looking to cut back following Christmas and find a cheap way to get fit, then running is a great, affordable option.
As you build up your mileage, you can invest in running gear like running socks and running leggings, and even a running watch.
Check out some of the running accessories I swear by during training.
Running releases ‘feel good’ hormones
For many people, January is a bit of a downer following the excitement at Christmas. So what better way to give yourself a pick me up by going for a run.
Running makes your body release ‘feel-good’ hormones like dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and norepinephrine which contribute to the amazing ‘runner’s high’ you get after a run.
Even walking can contribute to an improved mood!
Moving your body has positive effects on your physical and mental health.
It also adds to the already significant body of research showing that running and other forms of aerobic exercise can improve mood and help fight anxiety and depression.
In June 2018, The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and Parkrun UK launched a ground-breaking initiative to prescribe outdoor physical activity to patients rather than medication.
The initiative aims to improve the health and wellbeing of patients and health care staff, reducing the need for lifelong medication.
It also aims to further increase awareness amongst GPs, and all practice staff, of Parkrun and the positive impact physical activity and volunteering can have on health and wellbeing.
Parkrun is something I look forward to every week. If you’re new to Parkrin, check out my post on what to expect at your first Parkrun.
Running helps you lose weight
If you’ve indulged over Christmas, perhaps a few too many mince pies or candy treats, then running is a great way to shed those extra pounds.
In order to make the most out of your running to lose weight, your training plan needs to include a range of workouts.
These workouts can torch a lot of calories without spending hours pounding the pavement.
While there is no best way to lose weight through running, intense workouts like interval training are better for burning calories.
Check out my blog post on running for weight loss for the most effective running workouts to help you lose weight.
Running gets you outdoors
Running is a great excuse to get outdoors in the fresh air.
If you’ve spent all Christmas stuck indoors with family and friends, get outside and go for a run – it’s great for the body, mind and soul.
And why not practice mindful running? Mindful running is essentially about being more mentally connected with your movement and not being distracted when you run.
Shrugging off external pressures and distractions and listening to your body sounds simple but it’s surprisingly hard when you’re used to thinking about a million things at once.
Next time you go for a run, try leaving your phone and sports watch at home and just listen to your body.
Running inspires you to take up other forms of exercise
Running inspires many people to take up other forms of exercise like yoga, pilates, cycling, swimming and hiking.
The confidence you get from running means you feel better equipped both physically and mentally to challenge yourself in different ways.
Exercise like yoga and swimming are also great ways to include forms of cross training and strength training in your training plan.
These are all essential to help you become a stronger and faster runner.
Check out my complete guide on strength training for runners for more tips on including strength workouts in your weekly routine.
Another way to experiment with running and other forms of exercise is to start the RED January 2020 challenge.
This is an initiative that challenges you to get active every day, your way.
Whether you run, swim, cycle or choose your favourite fitness activity, set your goal and enjoy support from the RED community.