When I say ‘run’, it can be interpreted in many ways. Some may think of a light jog, others a less than twenty minute 5k. In my case, I would definitely go for the jog version. I can do a 5k in about half an hour, pretty average but certainly not ‘fast’. I would say I ‘like’ running. I don’t love it, neither do I hate it. Some days I cannot wait to get out, others I dread the first steps. Around my area, it is quite hilly which puts an extra strain on the legs, and it is not the best feeling to approach the bottom of a large slope. However, the feeling of reaching the top of one is pretty amazing. My favourite hill is actually a track which runs alongside one of the many farmers’ fields in my village. The hill is a gradual incline, a dusty track, which does take a lot of mental motivation from myself. However, the view I get when i reach the top is stunning. I always pause at the top, partly to catch my breath, but also because of this feeling of happiness I feel inside. If I go at the correct time, the sun casts an arrow of light across the top of the hill, warming my already hot skin. I think it is my favourite place in my village. It makes me feel alive. Running makes me feel alive.
It has been found via studies that around 2/3s of our population is classed as overweight. Now that includes both fit rugby players who have a high BMI due to muscle, but also ranges to the morbidly obese who’s weight poses a threat to their health. I am not one to judge body types, I myself am ‘chubbier’ than many of my friends who do little exercise compared to me, but I do believe, alongside many others, that being active is hugely important. Physical activity isn’t always appetising; it hurts, burns, fatigues but the short and long term benefits are surely worth it. Physical activity also has a lot of misconceptions. Yes, if you want to gain a baywatch body, you are going to have to hit the gym almost everyday and push your body to the extremes, but if you just want to stay happy and healthy, even a walk a couple of times a week could have huge benefits. The truth is, exercise doesn’t have to be despised, all that is needed is to find something you love. I appreciate that running won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, my mum, for instance, much prefers a couple of hours of walking, however there are plenty of alternatives. My dad loves to cycle, my brothers love cricket, football, tennis (the list goes on) and I have attended dance classes from the age of three. It’s all about finding something you love, and that will make a huge difference in the active side of your life.
Sadly, the sedentary lifestyle has become almost normalised in the 21st century. I will admit, there are some days where I don’t rise until the afternoon, then sit at my desk doing some work, before retiring to bed to watch Netflix for the might. However, I make sure I have time to exercise to recharge myself and reflect upon my thoughts. During exercise, your brain releases endorphins, otherwise known as ‘feel good’ hormones. This is proof that exercise does help your mental/emotional wellbeing, so surely if you are not staying active, you are likely to be less mentally well than those exercising regularly. To me, it seems strange that one would want to remain indoors, not mobile for most of the day, rather than be in the one place that has been on earth for eternity: the outdoors. I am in no way critiquing this lifestyle, there can be many reasons for one slipping into this lifestyle, which from personal experience I completely understand. However, if you feel like you may be slipping down this slope, I would advise you to gradually introduce activity into your daily life. Maybe walk to work or school and use public transport, take the stairs instead of the lift or take a walk around the local streets during your lunch break. Whatever it is, it is easy to see the benefits activity, and it is important to see that you don’t need to come out of it looking like the Hulk either.
The point of exercise is often to gain that ‘summer body’ or complete a ‘two week shred’ which is very appealing in an ideal world, however with an average body, this is highly unrealistic. I have in the past watched my calories, scrutinising everything that entered my mouth, leading to a general unhappiness due to my stomach constantly screaming at me. I can’t say this won’t ever happen again as it is important to monitor the foods you are consuming and when I return to school I will find it more challenging to eat healthily. However, it is crucial to stress the importance of being HEALTHY rather than gaining your ideal body. As famously quoted, ‘what matters is on the inside’ is certainly true. As long as you feel healthy it doesn’t matter what your outward appearance is, beauty IS found within!
Have I persuaded you? Probably not. However, I hope you will take some inspiration to become more active. I’m sure almost all of you are active, and if you are, I hope you will decide to try to go for a run if this isn’t your usual form of exercise, because, even if it feels like hell and you decide against it for eternity, at least you tried! Life is about trying, exploring and discovering. So try, that’s all I’m asking you: try.