Running: A Case Study

Running: A Case Study

Changing your thinking, one step at a time.
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A nuisance, a punishment, or an angel in disguise, running has a different meaning to all people. Running does not require hand eye coordination, the memorization of rules, or the strength to move mountains. Running’s fundamentals on the track are to always turn left, on the cross country field surge up the hills and then sprint down, and on the street make sure that the vehicle's bumper is in the opposite direction. The world of running is one which is filled with let downs, successes, and plateaus. In the running realm the run does not begin until one forgets they are running, the runner’s high is a long-sighted goal, and it is tradition to buy new trainers every few months. Love for running occurs by chance; it can be a long or a short term infatuation.

A runner does not realize their reliance on their sport until their wheel is broken. The runner will try and try again to keep pushing on their broken wheel; they will keep jogging through the woods and racing on the track without a thought of the extreme consequences they may be victim to. No one believes that they will be the injured team mate on the side lines or the famished marathoner unable to finish the race. Once the art of running seeps its way into one’s life it is hard to fight the addiction. Running, “triggers a cascade of positive changes in your head, from feelings of euphoria to improved memory”(Loeb). The feel good impacts of running cause an athlete to refrain from admitting physical defeat. It slowly evolves from a hobby to a fundamental of life, “‘Running has defined who I am’”, comments an athlete interviewed in Runner’s World magazine. The addiction to running is caused by the body’s association with endorphins.

Endorphins are the chemicals which are released by the pituitary gland to send a feeling of pleasure through the body (Painter). They are neurotransmitters which transmit electrical signals to the brain which serve the purpose of relieving pain (Stoppler). The theory around endorphins is that because their production is increased during the time of exercise an elevation of happiness in the athlete is caused. Some scientists argue the legitimacy of this argument, questioning how it is verifiable. The skeptical scientists say that although the chemical may be being produced more rapidly, there is no way for the endorphins to pass through the blood and into the brain. However, evidence from qualified doctors and other researchers suggests otherwise.

In a blanket statement, it has become an accepted fact in society today that when one exercises endorphins are released throughout the body. When the endorphins are released and they come in contact with receptors in the brain they reduce the perception of pain. By losing the true perception of pain its impact is lessened and enlightenment increases in the person exercising. The feeling of lessened pain and sharpened happiness causes for an addiction to be formed with running. A study at Tuft’s University conducted by Robin Kanarek, professor of psychology, worked to prove that avid runners can experience withdrawals if they are unable to exercise. Kanarek argued that the withdrawals were similar to those of someone who had stopped taking an opiate. In Tufts’ study, the research team found that highly active mice showed symptoms of withdrawal when they no longer were given the appropriate space and equipment to pursue their exercise activities. Tufts University is investigating further to see if this relation between humans and running correlates further.

To the untrained eye running may appear to be a leisurely pastime which has no long term effects, but in reality running has proved to be an activity which acts as the backbone of sustaining a healthy and successful life. While driving down the road, one can haphazardly distinguish between the seasoned runner and the novice. The seasoned runner appears to run with ease: head raised, stride open, and breathing even. The novice stumbles down the road: fists clenched, forehead glistening, and cheeks reddened with exasperation. The roles could be altered: the novice could have perfect stride, but lack of speed and the seasoned runner could have puffed red cheeks and lack of form after an interval workout. Running is not a sport of beauty, but a sport which requires drive.

It may appear easy to succeed at running; all one has to do is run faster. If only it were so simple. Running tests the mental toughness and physical capability of those who dare to lace up. The art of running is not for the soft hearted or nimble toed - but the dedicated. Success is not determined on how fast one runs or the distance they travel, likewise literature is not graded on quantity, but quality. It is a true misfortune for those who are blind to the marvels of running, it brings to its audience opportunities mentally and physically that they would not be exposed to otherwise. Running's characteristic of catalyzing personal growth is truly remarkable.

Sources:

“Exercise and Depression: Endorphins, Reducing Stress, and More." WebMD. WebMD.
Loeb, Heather. "Why your brain loves exercise." Men's Health Jan.-Feb. 2009: 040. General OneFile.
Painter, Kim. "Exercise Helps Fight Anxiety, Depression - USATODAY.com." Exercise Helps Fight Anxiety, Depression. USA Today, 26 Apr. 2010.
Study: Runners Experience Chemical Withdrawal When Deprived of Exercise | Fox News."Fox News. FOX News Network, 27 Aug. 2009.




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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.




These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

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Emily Heinrichs

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An Open Letter to Soda

You're both good and bad, but you never fail to satisfy me.

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Dear soda,

How do I even begin to describe my connection to you? I have shared countless moments with you that we're both my best and my worst. Above all, you fill me up better than water, milk and juice ever do. And even though you're as equally unhealthy as alcohol is (no offense), you're always the safer, if not the most refreshing choice. But even so, you give me more calories than I want in one meal, although burning off that kind of energy is second nature to me.

Before I lavish you with compliments and thank you for cooling me down on hot summer days, it's time to get the unpalatable truth about you and nutrition, soda. You're a primary reason why I'm not in the best shape of my life. Every time I try to have that extra little bit of muscle, you end up setting me back. It's so easy for me to crave for you, because of how delicious you are, and the sugar high you give me is absolutely amazing compared to what I get eating candy and all those other sweets.

I know it's really puzzling for a writer like me to be writing an open letter to a beverage, but you're actually a pretty big part of my life. Why? Because you don't just quench my thirst on hot days, or affect my upset stomach for better or worse, you give me just a smidgen more energy than coffee and tea do. The caffeine in you isn't good for me in the long run, but I need it on a regular basis so I don't zone out during my classes. Honestly, without you, I don't feel as uninhibited as I like to be.

What I love the most about you is that you come in numerous flavors, and even though it's scientifically proven to be ineffective and also tastes worse than gruel, you come in diet form. In every restaurant and cafeteria, you get your own fountain, and students like myself prefer to go there instead of the coffee machines. The hiss of fizz when I open you up makes my mouth water, chills go up my spine and I never resist that first taste of your sugary carbon. Out of all the flavors you offer, I love root beer, cream soda, grape, orange, ginger ale and Dr. Pepper the most. The possibilities with you are so endless.

Soda, the best thing you've ever done for is satisfy me when I didn't feel satisfied.

From one of your many friends,

Konner Donté Watson

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