It was a difficult time. I couldn’t run for six months after the accident and I didn’t feel like myself – I had lost a major part of my weekly routine. As soon as I could start running again, I grabbed at the chance with both hands. It was a slow build up to where I was before the accident but, more than that, I started to feel like myself again. I hadn’t realised quite how much I rely on running to maintain a healthy mind.
I know I won’t be alone in saying that running is absolutely vital for keeping my head straight and my thoughts clear. If I’ve had a bad day at the office, the first thing I want to do is go for a run. When you start out on your run, your body goes through a transition: your breathing becomes heavy and your pulse quickens as your heart pumps harder to move oxygenated blood to your muscles and brain. As you hit your stride, your body releases hormones called endorphins. Ah, the ‘runners high’! The sense of euphoria created by this release helps athletes feel relaxed and calm, and can even help shield against pain from a long bout of exercise. Well, at least temporarily.
Exercise can also be a great way to distract yourself, divert your attention away from something that’s making you anxious. Going for a run with a podcast in your ears can give you a much-needed break from the intensity of day to day life.