Outdoor Running: The Benefits For College Students
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Health and Wellness

Outdoor Running: The Benefits For College Students

Why the very thing you're avoiding could be the one thing you need

Outdoor Running: The Benefits For College Students

Yes, you did read the headline right, I actually am encouraging running. Although many people view it as some daunting punishment, it actually has many un-foreseen benefits, especially for us college students. Although I am no Usian Bolt, I have been slowly but surely running consistently through college. Although it is a daunting task, I challenge all college students to run at least once a week as many benefits, including the ones below, are reaped.

1. Alone time

As fun as it is living on a hall surrounded by best friends, it can be a little draining. Unlike home life, in college you are constantly surrounded by other people and it can be hard to find “me” time. However, running allows you to escape from the packed library, the noisy dining hall, and the small closet labeled as a dorm room that you share with your roommate. Having a few minutes to yourself each day is such a necessity for mental health, and running really provides that.

2. Fresh Air

Getting outside in college is key. Although you get used to the smells and lovely aromas that seep through your pre-historic dorm room buildings, they still definitely exist. College dorms have a knack for harboring dust, mold, and everything gross. Getting out to run allows you to breathe in air that does not smell like a mix of Axe body spray and feet, while also giving you natural light that just doesn’t come from the fluorescent hospital lighting your lovely dorm provides.

3. No fights for a treadmill required

When you start running outside there is no need to enter the crowded, smelly gym. You no longer have to fight through a line or stare down that one person who has been using the treadmill for well over an hour. The nature around you becomes your own treadmill, with no wait time and constant availability.

4. Explore the community

As much as we all love our college campuses, it is so easy to get caught up in the bubble they create. Personally, running has allowed me to break through that bubble and explore outside the golden gates of Wake Forest. During my runs I am able to explore cool places, find new restaurants and shops, and even just get an idea of life in the thriving city surrounding the college I call home.

5. Directions

I am not sure if you can relate, but I am the absolute worst with directions. In fact, just as I became comfortable with giving directions to my old house, I packed up my things and moved to school. When I first got to school, I could not even walk from my dorm to the dining hall. (It is a straight shot by the way) However, I quickly learned that on my morning runs I was able to gain a sense of direction and slowly but surely map out campus and the surrounding city. Running allowed me to actually be remotely helpful in guiding my friends and family around campus.

6. Burn off those extra college calories

Too many tater tots at the dining hall? I feel that. Running allows you to make up for those binge dining hall sessions, study snacking habits, and even late night pizza. So next time you look down at that empty bag of Doritos you just bought yesterday, have no fear because running helps burn off those extra pounds so aunt Margret will have no comments at your next family reunion.

7. No pricey membership required

Although there are so many popular gyms and weight loss programs popping up these days, as college students, money is a delicacy and must be saved. That being said, skip the expensive gym memberships and switch to running- no fancy equipment or membership is required, making it a broke college student's dream.

8. Music

Running gives you time to explore new music while also bumping some classic hits from the early 2000’s. Personally, every time I put my headphones on and begin a run, it is almost like I enter a whole new world. I am instantly able to get lost in the music and begin to create a music video with the world around me. Plus, I love finding new songs that help keep me motivated and at a fast pace.

9. Build your endurance

Tired of not being able to walk up the stairs to class without being out of breath? Running can help that. Running improves cardiovascular health while also building our endurance. Granted, I still am windy running across campus to my 8 am, but I definitely have gotten better at concealing my panting. Not only does running increase physical endurance, but also mental. Whenever I grow tired, I always push myself saying just five more minutes, you can do anything for five minutes. Although this strategy started as a running motivator, it carried over to my everyday life and even my classes. Start running so next time you’re sitting in that one professors class half asleep, you can grin, knowing that if you could run for 5 more minutes, you can act alive in class for five more minutes too.

10. Increases confidence

As you conquer new goals and enter new paces, your confidence will grow as you achieve things you didn't think you could. Running allows you to boost your self-esteem through pushing yourself to give your all in everything you do, exposing endurance and traits you may never knew existed. Surrounded by accomplished peers and far away from home, you are able to gain your confidence through growth in the difficult sport.

That being said, I challenge you to lace up those old tennis shoes, load that "running" playlist on Spotify that you never use, and embrace the benefits of daily outdoor running.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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