The recent COVID-19 running boom could help many people live longer, healthier, happier lives. Just put one foot in front of the other and find out for yourself.
A side-effect of COVID-19 that stirs up my interest is the subsequent fitness boom and in particular the increase in numbers pounding the pavements. According to a study from researchers and reviewers at Run Repeat:
People who normally exercise up to one to two times/week have increased exercising by 88 per cent on average during COVID-19
The study of almost 13,000 people from 139 countries, found that avid exercises were doing a little less, and this was likely to be due to gyms and swimming pools being inaccessible. However, when it came to getting their trainers on and getting out for a run the newbies continued to thrive, with runners who normally only participate once or twice a week increasing their participation by 117 per cent on average. Those previously running up to three times a week reported an increase of 55 per cent on average.
In May, endurancebusiness.com spoke with Gary Raucher, Executive Vice President of Category at ASICS EMEA. During the discussion, Gary said the running boom presents opportunities for the wider endurance sports industry. He also stressed the importance of running, and all forms of exercise, for maintaining mental health.
Of course, for anyone who runs, we know the secret that if everyone ran, the world would be a happier, healthier place with more positive, proactive and energetic people. And now when we’re facing a potential mental health crisis it’s worth tapping into the power of running.
In 2014 Mizuno USA ran a campaign, asking, What if everybody ran? A great question. So, what if…?
According to Mizuno, if every American person began a regular running routine, we could possibly see: up to 48 million fewer cigarettes smoked daily. 20 million more grandmothers. $130 billion saved in health care.
In 2017 The Guardian reported on a review of evidence in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Disease, that found that runners live three years longer than non-runners.
Runners live three years longer than non-runners
An hour of running will statistically speaking, increase your life expectancy by seven hours. Just five to 10 minutes a day, at less than six miles an hour, reduced the risk of heart disease and early deaths from all causes, the review found.
Running also delivers on developing a strong and toned body. It comes with a cardio punch and you become a fat-shredder — and will reveal previously hidden toned muscles. And a runner’s body doesn’t have to be stick thin. When you train up-hill you’ll strengthen your glutes and hamstrings, and downhill you’ll shape and strengthen your quads.
A ripped body, strength and determination — and research has proven that being active can also make you more optimistic, which according to an article published in Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health gives you strength and an ability to cope with life’s stresses and strains.[i] And it’s not just coping, being an optimistic runner can boost your pay packet, with another study from 2015 at the University of Cologne revealing that optimists earned on average £2,000 per year more than cynics.[ii]
It’s clear that the simple act of putting one foot in front of another is one of life’s success metaphors. When you commit to running, set your goals, and have a finish line to cross, you’ll find your strength, inside and out.
If you started running in lockdown, read our articles, about the compelling ‘whys’ for exercise and then the hows helping you to stick with your fitness routine.