Running can have so many benefits – not only can it be a great workout, but it can give us the opportunity to step back from our minds and gain a larger perspective.
During our daily routine, thoughts usually arrive one after the other, which can narrow our point of view and cause stress.
However, when we are running, especially outside, we widen our view and begin to take in many things going on at once.
Along with a release of endorphins from this high-energy workout, our thoughts also have the opportunity to open up, creating an upshift in the way we feel.
We become aware of how our body is moving as well as all the different things occurring as they pass by.
For example, while running through the city, you are perceiving cars, lights, buildings, people … Taking in many things at once while still maintaining a pace within ourselves allows our perspective to broaden.
To help in the process of creating a pace our bodies can maintain, it’s a good idea to check in with the breath.
It’s easy to restrict our breath as we perceive more things going on and as our heart rate increases from the workout.
One way to remind our body to breathe more naturally is to have an image in our minds of the natural way our body breathes – as you inhale, your lungs fill with air, which circulate through your lungs like a tree branch.
Sending reminders to the body of the natural flow of breath can guide the breath back into the areas of the lungs we have restricted (particularly the lower areas of the tree).
When we can find the pace of running where we can allow this to happen, it decreases body tension, allowing us to run longer and with more enjoyment.
When you are at rest, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth or nose is a good indicator that the breath is relaxed.
Running, however, increases the body’s oxygen needs, which typically requires breathing through the mouth.
Breathing in and out through the mouth while running allows oxygen to come into the body more quickly and puts less pressure on the heart.
It’s also a good idea to check in with your running pattern and your breath.
Did you know that when you exhale, there is more pressure put on the foot in which the exhale occurs?
For this reason, it’s helpful to alternate which foot you exhale on to help eliminate muscle imbalances.
A simple way to find a rhythm with your breath is to imagine as you drop the foot you exhale on, you are also holding a weight in that hand. As you run, make a mental note to exhale on an alternate foot so the weight is more evenly distributed.
Integrating some simple tools with your breath can help increase your capacity for running as well as help you gain a larger perspective.
When we can widen our perspective, we can decrease our stress and find more enjoyment in running and in life.
Published on: April 16, 2019