I have written about 4 articles now just purely based off of women’s running shoes and how running shoes are engineered these days. In light of running shoes I think that it is important to talk about running itself sometimes since that is why we are concerned about finding the right running shoes.
I have been running off and on for over 10 years now and have had my own journey with running and different kinds of running shoes. It is only recently that I have bought a very good pair of Adidas running shoes, for the first time in my life. Although, I have had a nice pair of Nike’s at one point I decided to toss them once I wore holes in them and upgrade to the superboost Adidas and I have no regrets!
My Experience with Running
I wanted to write an article about running indoors versus outdoors, the health benefits of running and how it has evolved in society. Sure, we all need a good pair of running shoes but also where you run and how you run (which I will discuss in a different post) is just as important. In high school I never gave much thought about the shoes I wore or where I ran. Out of high school and up until now I run both indoors and outdoors.
Since I live in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle/ Portland area, I tend to run more indoors on a treadmill more than I would like. This is because half of the year here, at least, is very dark, cold, and rainy. Today is an absolutely gorgeous day and would be ideal to not only run but get some vitamin D instead of staying inside all day but I am taking time to write this article so you can examine your running habits as well.
I am not proud of the fact that I run mostly on a treadmill but I find that running on a treadmill and taking postural and running advice from Danny Dryer (who wrote Chi Running) has helped me hone in on a better way of running. When I am on a treadmill I cannot stop to take a break unless I slow the treadmill down and I have to focus on my breathing and form more. When running outside there is more terrain and mixed environments. I think that being able to focus on my running in a controlled environment has helped me become a better runner but I want to examine the benefits of running and running indoors versus outdoors.
The Benefits of Running
During my research on the benefits of running I ran into an excellent article and study by Hsiao-Pu, Joseph, Sarah, Eric, & Keith (2017) called “Physical and Emotional Benefits of Different Exercise Environments Designed for Treadmill Running”. They did a controlled study on 30 different runners in the UK. They had one third of them look at a dynamic nature scene while running (all on a treadmill), a third of them look at a static nature scene, and the other third look at whatever they chose for entertainment while running. The results were that those that looked at the nature scenes where happier afterwards but those that chose whatever entertainment they wanted had better overall performance.
What I take away from that is that we should choose whatever environment and form of entertainment is most appealing to us when we are exercising. I am even tempted to judge myself for not running outdoors enough but in reality I am just choosing whatever I am most comfortable with and if that helps me in my performance than that is what I should do. Society should be doing whatever possible to encourage people to be active, whether it be indoor or outdoor because inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death for global mortality now.
There are approximately 3.2 million deaths per year from non-communicable diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease states Hsiao-Pu (2017). Whether you running indoors or outdoors the exercise improves mood, lowers blood pressure, improves direct attention (improves the brain’s ability to focus), self esteem, and more. The only difference between those on the treadmill and those outside is that those who live and run in greener environments have better perceived health.
Outside Influences on Running Performance
When researching affects of running outdoors versus indoors I found another great article by Hitchings & Latham (2016) titled “Indoor versus outdoor running: understanding how recreational exercise comes to inhabit environments through practitioner talk”. They go back to the beginning when man was still in the early stages of hunter-gatherer phase. They state that humans used to run animals (basically their food) until the animal was exhausted.
The authors want every day runners to keep in mind that it is a part of our evolutionary system to run, we are wired for exercise and activity but it used to be something that was necessary for hunting. Even though we should be more active we don’t have to kill ourselves over it. It is ok to have some sporadic exercise here and there. I think that people get so caught up in thinking that they have to exercise every day at a specific time and do very specific things when in reality our ancestors were sporadic in their exercise and evolution.
Hsiao-Pu (2017) states that nature does have a huge impact on our physical, mental and emotional well-being but sometimes people do not exercise outside due to the weather, crowded urbanized environments and possibly crime in certain areas. In recent decades our world has become more urbanized and therefore we have become more sedentary. This has caused some people to only exercise indoors at times. According to their studies this does not have an effect performance but you may not be as happy as if you were running or exercising outside on a nice day.
Where we live and outside influences does have a huge impact on our performance and mood. Despite this there has been an increasing trend, especially in America and Europe, of people signing up for gym memberships and claiming that they are running on a weekly basis. Trend in Running will be examined further because running has become more and more popular in recent years.
Trends in Running Across America and Europe
Hitchings (2016) states that running has become the default exercise across Europe and North America. There are a number of reasons for this;1) it is cheap (you only need a pair of running shoes) , 2) you can start running anywhere, and 3) we were designed to run and be active. I think that many people want to be more active, especially with our office jobs these days. Even now there are more drivers than ever due to ride sharing (which is also something that I do part-time) and even driving a person needs to get out and run. Sitting anywhere all day is not healthy for anyone.
Hitchings (2016) goes on to state that between 1999 and 2009 there was a 10 percent increase in those interested in running across America and Europe. About 9-13% of Britons claim to run regularly as well. There has also been a decline in the typical work schedule so people have more free time, or even time that they make for themselves, to devote to running and exercising. Another development is that more and more people are not willing to commit to collective sports activities so running is a very easy and obvious solution, or replacement, to sports.
We All Run in Different Ways.
Before finishing this article I wanted to point out that we all run in different ways. I think that in society today with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and more it is easy to get caught up in the trap of thinking that we have to do things a certain way. I used to feel guilty about not running outdoors more but what really motivates me while running is increasing my stamina and being able to listen to the music that I want to listen to. For some people running outside and not listening to any music might be what motivates them the best.
I encourage each one of you to run however you are motivated the most without judgment and I look forward to our comments and running stories and questions.
Where do you like to run and what motivates you while running ?
Hitchings, R., & Latham, A. (2016). Indoor versus outdoor running: understanding how recreational exercise comes to inhabit environments through practitioner talk. Transactions Of The Institute Of British Geographers, (4), 503. doi:10.1111/tran.12138
Hsiao-Pu, Y., Joseph A., S., Sarah M., C., Eric, B., & Keith, D. (2017). Physical and Emotional Benefits of Different Exercise Environments Designed for Treadmill Running. International Journal Of Environmental Research And Public Health, Vol 14, Iss 7, P 752 (2017), (7), 752. doi:10.3390/ijerph14070752