"For me, outdoor exercise is simply an escape hatch. My running shoes are a trap door I can sink my feet into whenever life gets too chaotic, which it consistently does.
Physical activity, particularly while breathing in fresh air, helps me put it all in perspective.There is something in the monotony of repeated movement that helps me both physically and mentally reset.
Getting my heart rate up eventually makes me feel good — after it's made me feel worse.
Somehow, though, even the feeling worse part is good. It's like the physical exertion matches the level of work demanded of me in life. When I can actually match that imagined pace, even during an activity that seems totally unrelated, it makes me feel like I'm working through something. I feel that sense of competency, and it brings me back into myself, one step at a time."
- Alli H.
Palmer, Alaska USA
Via When Life Gets Too Demanding, the Outdoors is an Escape Hatch
"The thing about running that nobody tells you is that training for a race as long as a half-marathon can be quite boring. I logged the miles because I was "supposed to," and looked forward to race day because it meant I wouldn't have to run anymore. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy running, because it helps me clear my head and gives me a little high. But my approach to running is kind of like that famous quote, "I hate writing, I love having written." In other words, I hate actually slogging through a run, but I love how it feels to finish a run."
"During my 20s and early 30s, I realized how running made me feel better about myself and helped develop my self-confidence. I signed up for a multitude of races ranging from 5ks to marathons. With the completion of each race and the training that went along with it, I felt stronger physically and mentally. Especially after finishing my first marathon – the Marine Corps – I felt like I could do anything!
"Without exercise, I feel as though I don't have an outlet to release the stress and anxiety. The spin classes were the most helpful because I felt like I was able to zone out and focus my energy just on pedaling one foot in front of the other. I was able to find clarity."
"It might seem antithetical to give myself one more thing to do [when planning a wedding]. But I now know that when I’m juggling a lot, squeezing in a workout is one of the best things I can do for myself. It gives my brain a time-out, drains away some of that pointless panic energy, and lets me come back to the world with fresh eyes and the wherewithal to stop and look around. Sure, there’s a lot to be stressed out about right now. And there’s plenty to be thrilled and joyful over. I can’t eradicate the bad entirely. But I can feel them both."
"There are an endless number of reasons why I swim. Here are just a few of them.
Be sure to read the Why I Swim post in its entirety as Olivier explains each bold statement above!
"Why do I love it? For as many reasons as there are races. I love the clear-headed exhaustion that follows a hard run – body spent but mind miraculously clearer than the foggy-headed state I started in. I especially love the cake that follows those cross-country races. I love that running as much as I do means I can eat whatever I want – but that I don’t, because I won’t run as well if I eat nothing but cake.
“Road cycling is kind of like therapy for me, I relax and I have the time to think about a lot of stuff. It makes me feel really good."
- Matthew I. (AKA The Oatmeal)
Read his full comic on The Terrible & Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances.
"Running has been my faith, my crutch, my drug of choice, and besides my lovely wife, my best friend. It has opened many doors in my life of 59 years. It clears my mind, makes me feel good, provides a ‘good’ pain, running has challenged and rewarded me so much. I truly believe my running has affected my family in a positive way. It gives me great joy to see our children and grandchildren running- that’s remains my biggest reward and satisfaction- watching the grandchildren continue the ‘Family Tradition.’"