10 running perks that can’t be tracked with a heart rate monitor, scale, or measuring tape

I am well aware that many people not only hate running but also hate runners. To each their own. I have been running for a long time and continue to run with the goal of maintaining my health — nothing to do with vanity or bragging or whatever annoys some people so much. Beyond maintaining or improving health, there are many other unconventional perks that the running/runner haters may not have considered, with running providing all of the following things:

1. More energy — it may be counterintuitive, but it is well documented across many clinical trials that aerobic exercise like running improves fatigue, regardless of the cause of the fatigue (whether it be normal just feeling tired or fatigue caused by diseases or medications). If I’m ever feeling sluggish, that’s my queue to get a run in. It’s those days that I need it the most. 100% fatigue busting guarantee.

2. Less monotony — nothing breaks up a day better than getting outside for a run. Morning runs and work-week “lunch runs” are my fav, depending on the time of year.

3. Cure for the crankies — if I’m ever in a ripe mood about something but I force myself to hit the pavement, I always feel better when I get back. The problem may not be solved, but I can see things more calmly and clearly with better perspective. 100% crankiness busting guarantee.

4. “Me time” — awwww, me time. As much as I enjoy family time, I also enjoy me some “me time”. And the slower one runs, the more “me time” is gained … true story 😉

5. Comfy wardrobe — (some) modern day running clothes are cute, comfortable, and a good supplement to any wardrobe. It’s amazing how multipurpose running garb can be. Perhaps I make it too multipurpose, but at least I’m comfy.

6. Music to one’s ears — awwww, my tunes, I can slip on those headphones and listen to anything I desire without hearing anyone complain. I would shrivel up and die without music, so I appreciate any and all opps to listen to the songs that I love. I happen to live in an area where I can find roads that are safe to run on with headphones. I avoid the twisty country roads because I like to listen to music — so readers beware — safety first.

7. Fighting chance against a chaser — oh, it’s that classic joke that runners will hear over and over and over and over. The whole “who would run unless someone is chasing them” mantra. It’s a joke, I get it, it’s cute. But tapping into my more serious side … if I were ever to be chased, I’d personally love to win that race, so I’ll keep up the running and hope I never need it, thank you very much to the peanut gallery 😉

8. Skin that doesn’t need cake — Hey, I’m not saying that I have the best skin in the world. I’ve got fine lines and freckles galore. But aerobic exercise is good for the circulation and thus good for the skin. Just like unhealthy habits lead to bad skin, healthy habits improve skin. Despite my imperfections, I’ve got healthy color. That peachy, orangey “foundation” gunk that women coat their faces in — no thank you, not for me. Proper hydration, sun protection, and good circulation via aerobic exercise provides a much better “foundation” for a face, than an orange mask begging to be sweated off.

9. Better relationship with Mother Nature — I deal with the 4 seasons where I live and run year-round. It’s interesting and beautiful watching the scenery change. I see things that I otherwise would not come across or notice if I didn’t run. This includes not only plants or trees, but the sky and also a whole host of critters along the way — deer, horses, birds, and occasionally those spooky turkey vultures — eeeeeeek. A simple run can turn into a mini outdoor adventure, depending on the weather and animal activity on a given day. Overall, running has made me more chummy with Mother Nature, that’s for sure.

10. Old school fun — if you have ever observed a playground, it’s pretty indisputable that most kids love to run and climb. I’m not sure what happens to adults — when that love of carefree time frolicking outdoors seems to disappear. It is estimated that only 3 of 100 adults get the recommended 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 days/week. 3% of adults get regular exercise, that’s it. I’ve been doing distance running for a long time, on and off since age 13. I think that as long as a runner doesn’t take themselves too seriously, running provides a perfect platform for kid-like fun. I’m 41 now, so doing something in middle-age that I used to do when I just became a teenager certainly helps me feel way younger than 41. It helps to keep me silly, for better or for worse.

As long as the heart is tickin, I’ll keep doin’ what I’m doin’ for all of the 10 reasons noted above … plus the boring ole “maintaining health” thing too 😉