Run for health, fitness and energy

Last Updated 30 July 2010, 12:27 IST

Lose weight? Get more out of life? Feel more positive? The simplest way to achieve this and more is to join a group with similar objectives . The group may consist of 3 people or 300, it does not matter. Sometimes ‘group therapy’ helps in setting us in motion to achieve our wellness goals.

For any all-round impact, we need to work along several dimensions and if I were to write down a list of what you need to do, it would seem a no-brainer! The important thing is to focus on one activity. If it is integrally linked to a variety of others, you will soon see the incremental changes you make in all other dimensions as you progress with your main activity. And, all of a sudden, those long ‘to-do’ lists will not be required. You may even become a wellness coach for others!

I have found the simple activity of running to be one such miracle drug as I have met champion runners, average runners like myself, and many who have just started off  — across countries, gender, age groups and economic strata.

Lose weight, find yourself

The common thread is the fact that running has changed their lives for the better. They’ve lost weight, overcome asthma, managed diabetes, reduced stress and gotten over respiratory illness such as sinusitis. But this is only the beginning. The elation at a continuous boost of self- confidence, feeling good about yourself and being optimistic despite the ‘system’ around you, is difficult to measure.

Join a running group. Head to a park where you don’t know anyone and gradually find yourself increasing the distance you run or the time for which you run. Over time, make friends with those who are also walking and jogging in the park. Form your own self-help group if there isn’t one you can find in your vicinity.

What a group does is to get you out when you don’t feel like getting out of bed, making your run more enjoyable. Soon, you will find that you are part of a whole new community. You may meet these folks often socially, or just very regularly in a park but the positivity you experience in the group is amazing.

*You will find yourself chatting about food which gives you great energy.

*You will rediscover fresh fruit, raw vegetables and roughage, as deep fried snacks and sugary foods take a back seat.

*You will begin to eat a heartier breakfast and a lighter dinner.

*You will drink more water.

*You will — perhaps — cut down on smoking and alcohol.

No, I am not pushing you into being an ascetic — all these are small, incremental steps that will — over time — make you a better and a happier runner. And, the motivation to make these changes will come from within. The changes you make will be noticed by others and discussed, as they seek to emulate what you have done.

Posture will become more important, as also stretching, flexibility, and aspects of breathing and yoga. You may sleep more soundly and perhaps want to sleep earlier and get up earlier than before.

Running is also a great way to meet other singles if that’s what you are — healthy dating at 6 am would be encouraged by every parent I know! So, there is a pretty good chance that yours will too.

Group interaction brings in variety — people, conversations, places — and the overall content of the interaction keeps changing, so there is very little chance for boredom to set in. And as soon as you’ve experienced this 3-4 times — you are hooked onto running, if nothing else.  Just one word of caution: Try not to get addicted to running. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

(Published 30 July 2010, 12:26 IST)

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