Published on February 3, 2014 | by Alexandra Scarlato Photography by Natalie Vardon0
Unwind one step at a time
Feeling stressed out? Is there a lot on your mind? Sam Kirwin thinks he’s found a solution. The Humber cross-country runner clears his mind one step at a time.
“I find that when I’m running I let my thoughts flow. It helps me to think about my day and what I have to get done.”
During exercise the body releases endorphins, the natural hormone responsible for elevating mood and relieving stress.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, improving cardiovascular endurance will not only reduce risks of many chronic diseases but also improve the health of your body both physically and mentally.
Teresa Arnini, co-coach of Humber’s varsity cross-country team has seen this in her team during practice.
“Running allows you to distress as you start to feel better about yourself.”
Chad Patterson, a sports management student at Humber College, has been a part of the Humber cross country team for almost four years and said running gave his self-esteem and self-confidence a boost.
“It improves the way you feel about yourself as well as the way you look.”
Kirwin is an advocate for running to maintain a healthy lifestyle but also recognizes the rewards to his mental health. He sees running as something anyone with a good pair of running shoes can do.
“If I’m nervous before a test, sometimes I can go for a run, and calm down, then when I’m back I’ll be a lot more mellow than I was beforehand,” said Kirwin.
Kirwin copes with the stress and anxiety that school may bring through this familiar practice.
The mental benefit of running can be very rewarding on its own as runners can take the time to gather their thoughts alone or with others who have similar ideas.
Monique Haan, varsity academic advisor and cross country coach at Humber College said, “when you’re with like-minded people you tend to be more positive.”
Anyone interested in running may benefit from joining a running club where people can run with others who are trying to reach the same or similar goals.
Participating in approximately 150 minutes of vigorous activity per week can prevent heart disease provide a clear mind to get tasks done.
The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation statistics show that Canadians are living with at least one risk factor for heart disease.
“If you have heart issues in your family, there is no better way to keep your heart healthy than doing cardiovascular work, like running or jogging,” said University of Guelph-Humber kinesiology professor, Winnie Talan.
Talan said that running can improve your cardiovascular but it is also another great way to achieve a healthy body weight.
According to Haan, first time runners should be aware of their surroundings as well as the effects it can take to your body.
“I wouldn’t go out into a forest that has lots of roots and rocks because you have to be very observant to where you’re stepping. Otherwise, you are more prone to injury.”
Running can be a very strenuous exercise and takes a toll on the joints, it is important to take precautious and start off slowly.
“Walk before you jog, jog before you run,” said Talan.
Wearing a supportive, cushioned and comfortable running shoe and breathable clothing can help and actually enhance your workout.
“A lot of pounding on the joints may be discouraging, so being patient is important. You are building up your endurance, so not too hard, not too fast, but you’ll get there,” said Arnini.