By all accounts, I should have grown up to be the “indoor” type. Being passionate about grammar rules, loving dystopian novels, and having married a gamer are all signs that point to “non-athlete.” At least, that’s what I thought until I realized one day that life isn’t like high school, and people don’t fit into neat little boxes.
I am certainly a nerd, but I am also an enthusiastic distance runner. In blogging, I tend to talk about tips for health and wellness because they’re the things that are easiest for other people to start doing (and keep doing), but an article I recently read made me think about the benefits of running, or a regular exercise regimen that goes beyond your leisurely stroll.
I opened the piece from Inc. “Change Your Life in 30 Minutes” and was pleased to see the author singing his praises for running, and what it’s done to help him achieve career and personal success. There are so many benefits to regular exercise, and these benefits can help Career Girls succeed in every area of life.
Here is my list of what running does to empower me for success.
- Me time. Let me think back to life before running. What did I do for me time? Well: crafting, hiking, kayaking, playing with my kitties, watching TV, and playing Bomberman. I still do most of those things from time to time, but running is my main hobby. It’s time that I spend alone with my thoughts or with my music and it’s just for me. I can map a route or just wander, and I don’t have to worry about what people need from me until I get back. I’ve joined a few running groups and deeply enjoy the camaraderie I have with my running friends and being able to unwind together. It decreases stress, makes me feel happy, and clears my mind. All of these things have strong connections to making me pleasant and sharp at work.
- Goals. I can’t speak highly enough about the amazing feelings I get crossing a finish line. I don’t need to turn it into a metaphor, either. It is literally so invigorating and exciting to run across a finish line (or the end of my driveway) after a long run. It is fun to think back to my early races and remember how difficult it was to run that first mile. It fills me with glee to look at my calendar and sign up for races, plan out my training, and have confidence that I’m going to achieve. Since I started running, I feel like I can accomplish anything.
- Medals. I love medals! If more things involved getting a medal, I think people would work harder. Don’t let humble runners fool you—they love displaying their bling, and it’s nice to have something to show for your dedication.
- Identity. I know there are reasons to do it that outweigh the shallow reasons, but let’s be real: belonging to a group is fun! It’s fun to have a shared language, to complain about the same obstacles, to talk about how we can improve, and to celebrate each other’s successes. As runners, we’re kind of gross with our snot rockets and routines for, uh, digestive comfort. We love junk food and beer, which you wouldn’t assume about such a fit group (we run to make up for our nutritional shortcomings). Being a runner is part of my identity, and joining running groups is a fit way to build my network.
I know running isn’t for everyone. Feel free to substitute running for something that personally works better for you: swimming, biking, walking, etc. Remember, the best exercise is the kind that you’ll actually do, so find something that gives you joy and gets your heart rate up at the same time. You’ll be happier, healthier, and more ready to take on the challenges involved with being a big-time Career Girl!