The Benefits of Running Outdoors on Mind, Body & Soul
Runners rejoice! Now that we’re finally in the swing of spring, we can take our workouts back outside. This is exciting not just because of the benefits on your physique, but also on your overall mental and spiritual well being.
For some people, running only conjures ideas of grueling physical fitness tests in grade school. But now, you run the show. Put that image aside and step into a new reality where you can run at your own pace and focus solely on getting fit for yourself. Doing cardio outside can actually leave you feeling better, more relaxed, and more energized, especially over time. Running doesn’t have to be torture! It can very well be a form of moving meditation if you let it.
Especially for those of you who prefer to exercise for the energetic and mental benefits of fitness, running outside is one of the best ways to get an even bigger boost of endorphins and feel-good chemicals.
Let’s look at ten reasons running outside can benefit your mind, body, and soul. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to pull on your sneakers, make a great music playlist, and slather on the SPF so you can get outside for a run today!
10 Wholistic Health Reasons to Run Outside
1. Improves Heart Health
Getting your heart rate up each day is a great way to keep your ticker healthy. It’s no secret that heart health is the leading cause of death in the US. Running outside is a great preventive health care activity to balance out those times we indulge in a little too much birthday cake or give in to the smell of a homemade treat.
2. Lowers Stress
Being in nature feeds the soul. It helps you release the racing thoughts of modern life to feel the peace of being in a natural environment. It helps you connect back with your own natural self and starts to harmonize your mind with your soul by being surrounded by uplifting landscapes and beautiful smells. It helps you feel connected to the universe and in tune with your true self.
3. Improves Mental Clarity
It helps bring oxygen to the blood to cleanse it of toxins and can help your mind feel more clear because of it. By giving the body better circulation, the organs will be able to cleanse the body easier and digestion will happen more naturally. When the blood has less toxic buildup, you are able to think with less fog and have more energy to put into mental tasks.
4. Releases Endorphins
When you exercise, the body releases the happy chemicals we need to feel good and optimistic. This is a great way to combat mild depression, get over a breakup, or build the positive mindset we need to make a career change. Perhaps you are seeking happiness in the wrong places and this is a healthy way to feel good!
5. Boosts Metabolism
If you find that you are low on energy and easily gain weight, that may mean your metabolism is naturally slow. Running can keep your resting metabolic rate higher, which in turn will lower the belly fat that surrounds the organs. Your digestion will improve and your body will have more energy to do the things you want throughout the day.
6. Improves Confidence
Running is absolutely an act of self-love that will help raise your energetic vibration. The more you take care of yourself on a daily basis, the easier it is to set healthy boundaries for yourself in the other parts of your day. Maybe that means saying yes to a bubble bath and no to that extra slice of greasy processed cheese pizza. When we give ourselves the love we need, are less likely to seek it from people who don’t deserve our time. Don’t forget the healthy glow that comes from that sun-kissed glisten of a run and clear skin from the healthy interior you’re creating!
7. Clears Your Aura
Prana (meaning lifeforce) flows through nature, and being in and around nature is like taking a prana bath! Running outdoors will help clear negative energy from your aura and counteract the harmful effect electronics have on your immune system and nerves. If you feel drained after working with computers or around certain people, even a short run around the block can help you feel back to normal. You can also attract positive things to you much easier when your aura is clear. Your visualization of the future you want will manifest easier when you allow nature to clear your aura.
8. Strengthens Nerves
Because you breathe so much while running, you can heal the nerves that have been damaged by trauma or strained by stress. You’ll have more prana to handle stress and be able to withstand the trials that life presents with more of your own strength.
9. Relaxes Your Mind
Your body can go on autopilot when you’re running, putting you into a trance-like state where your mind can finally clear. You get into the rhythm of breathing as your feet hit the ground and time can pass without much notice. You are fully immersed in the physical experience, so your worries of the future or replaying of the past are muffled. This is extremely stress-relieving and sometimes it’s easier to get to this blank state while the mind has a task instead of a sitting-still meditation.
10. Allows You to Hear Your Inner Voice
Being off of your phone and away from people allows you to clear your head and see how your emotional state is doing. It can help you make decisions and get to the truth about how you feel about things in your life. Taking this time to oneself is invaluable for staying in touch with your own intuition.
You don’t have to sprint 5 miles to benefit from a run outdoors! Start with just 10-20 minutes and power walk when you need a break. Stay hydrated and don’t forget that sunscreen!
If you focus on breathing deeply and slowly as you run, you’ll also find you don’t lose your breath as much and your muscles will have more fuel to use for your adventure. Go at your own pace, it isn’t a race. The vitamin D offered by the sun is critical to the emotional and physical well being of humans. In order to harmonize the body, we need at least 10-20 minutes of sun time daily. It makes a huge impact on our ability to feel good physically and emotionally.
We’ve all heard that running can be hard on your joints so try to run softly without banging your feet. You can also look for a soft dirt trail to run on instead of concrete. This will make a big difference in your ability to continue this healthy habit long-term. Additionally, taking time to stretch before and after will reduce your risk of becoming tight in the legs and knees as well as reduce your risk of injury. When it comes to running, remind yourself, ‘slow and steady wins the race.’
Check out a fun app Nike Run Club which allows you to see how far you go, how much you improve and track the trails you make outside so you can run them again! It will even help you track your heart rate, offers coaching plans, weekly challenges, and options to share your runs with friends or cheer them on.
Related Article: Want To Get Into Running? Here’s How You Can Start