Talk to Other Runners

If you ask runners how they feel after including regular exercise in their lives, would you expect them to say any of the following?

  • Running makes me feel lethargic, grouchy, and stressed.

  • Running makes me feel worse about myself.

  • Running makes me feel and look terrible in my clothes.

  • Running makes me fatter.

  • Running makes my sleep pattern poorer.

  • Running made me start smoking and drinking.

  • Running makes my blood pressure go up.

Of course not! You probably know that people who run regularly claim just the opposite. They boast renewed energy, a better outlook on life, a tendency to eat healthier foods, better quality of sleep, and more. What is it about running that produces such effects? It's the fact that running is a form of aerobic exercise.

If your friends are runners already, ask them what they like and dislike about running. If they're not runners, ask whether they'd like to be. Recruit one of your nonrunning friends to start a running program with you and share experiences as you train. You'll double your pleasure as well as be able to share your challenges.

Aerobic exercise does for the body what no other activity can because of a crucial process: the utilization of oxygen. You take in oxygen all the time just by breathing, of course. But when you run, you take in greater amounts of oxygen, and it is delivered more deeply into the body because the heart, lungs, and muscles are working harder. Circulation increases and with it, oxygen delivery. This is beneficial for your body and makes you feel good.

The body loves regular bouts of oxygen-rich running and like a welcome houseguest makes accommodations for this. The body actually craves a higher aerobic level. The accommodations are the training benefits that improve the working of the body not only during exercise but also while at rest. No wonder exercise makes us feel better.

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