Running has been my main form of exercise since I was a teenager. I have tried swimming, yoga and exercise classes but running is the exercise that I always return to. This is because, for me, running is the ultimate minimalist exercise. Minimalism is, in my opinion, about less: owning less and having less commitments and distractions in order to live a more meaningful life. Running fits in with this lifestyle.
10 Reasons Why Running is the Ultimate Minimalist Exercise:
1. It's flexible. Running is easy to fit into your schedule because you can go for a run at any time of day to suit you. You are not subject to complicated timetables and cancelled classes. You can run anywhere even if you are away from home.
2. It's eco-friendly. Unlike the use of high-tech gyms, running outside does not require any heating costs or use any electricity.
3. Running makes you feel happy and improves mental tenacity. Running releases endorphins which gives you that feeling known as runner's high, a feeling of exhilaration. Also, running can be challenging at times (running through wind, rain and up hills) so it can help build up determination and resilience which you can use in other areas of your life.
4. It requires little equipment. A decent pair of running shoes, some high visibility clothing for running in the dark and a sports bra for women will be all the specialist items that you need to buy. You can run in cheap old sports clothes, hardly anyone will see you. Running requires very little set up costs with no joining or membership fee.
5. Running doesn't have to be competitive. You don't have to enter races, you can run with others or alone to suit you. If you run alone, just make sure you take your phone or let someone know your route.
6. Running takes up less time than other types of exercise. You don't need to drive anywhere to take part, simply leave your front door. A short 20 minute run, followed by a quick shower can give you essential exercise without taking up too much of your day.
7. Running is tranquil. In our busy lives running provides an opportunity to get outside, away from the house, the car and the office. Even if you don't have countryside close by you should be able to find a park to run around somewhere nearby. Connecting with nature can be a great stress relief.
8. Running outside can help look after your eyes. Looking into the distance whist running can help relax your eyes - great if you spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen.
9. Running is meditative. A rhythmic pace can enable your body to experience what psychologists call flow, a state where mind and body work in unison to create a sense of calm and well-being. This is great for relieving anxiety and is why you often feel more energised and positive after a run.
10. Running is a great for all round health. You can get so many health benefits from running such as weight loss, stronger muscles and bones, lowered cholesterol, reduced risk of heart disease, strengthened immune system and improved co-ordination. All in one simple exercise.
So, if you've lost your exercise mojo why not give running a try?
Photo, taken at the Great North Run 2006 - I'm in that shot somewhere!