Running is my prozac

I’ve been running for over ten years now. It that doesn’t mean I’m good at it. I don’t break records. I’m not fast. But I love it and it keeps me sane. It has become my survival strategy.

Running gives me the time to regain some headspace, de-clutter my thoughts and to get some happy hormones into my brain.

The other added benefits have been losing weight, getting fit, making new friends.

What first prompted my running was the need to shift more than a few pounds before I started fertility treatment. At that point I was three-stone too heavy with a BMI dangerously in the red zone.

I first started out on my own, a few runs here or there, then decided to take it a little more seriously, and plucked up courage to go to a running club. I had arranged to go with a friend, was stood up, and had to complete the four-mile circuit in my own!

The runners at the Serpentine Running Club are a friendly bunch, willingly welcome novices, and made sure I returned to the clubhouse, exhausted but elated. I have been running ever since.

Running is my survival strategy. It has:

  • Got me through a grueling round of IVF (once was enough)
  • Helped me overcome two miscarriages
  • Continually keeps my PCOS under control
  • Got me though the adoption process
  • Given me friends for life
  • And now, in Paris, it keeps me going

I love the way Lena Dunham has summed up her running experience:

Within an hour I had a different relationship to this formerly torturous activity. I felt strong, swift and proud. I’m not about to embrace that triathlon life but it’s a true joy to continue getting more connected to my body and its powers

Running is great. Why?

1. It’s cheap: No monthly contracts. No expensive gear but for decent trainers and a solid sports bra.

2. It’s flexible – fits around you and your life. No classes to book, no waiting around for instructors. Walk out of your front door and run.

3. You get fit, quickly. There are clubs like Dulwich Park Runners who take people who have zero experience of running and within eight weeks they can run five miles. Non-stop. There are plenty of apps to help get you started.

4. Great for losing weight: Running is an efficient exercise, and one of the best for losing weight and burning calories. Even after you stop running your body continues to burn off calories. In a long-term comparison study of runners and walkers, calories burned through running led to 90% more weight loss than calories burned through walking.

5. Makes you feel great: Running can help releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids).  It can help reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression. It can increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects

6. Stress-buster: Takes your mind off our worries, can help break negative thought patterns. After you’ve pounded the pavement, you’ve worked out a few issues and return home with a clear mind.

Want to feel strong, swift and proud? Get your trainers on and get running.

Picture credit, Beverly Goodwin, Flicker, amended using Canva

Tooting Mama

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