A few weeks ago I ran 132.8km in 24 hours for a race. In contrast, London to Northampton is around 98km apart! As tough as long-distance running can be, some of the mental and psychological benefits we can receive from this form of training are underappreciated. Endurance training does not have to be too extreme. However, the purpose of the article is to encourage the idea of endurance training. Highlighted by some scientific studies mixed with anecdotal experiences. Let’s continue exploring the health benefits of endurance training.
An overview of endurance training:
Firstly, endurance training is one of four different types of training we can do: Strength, balance, flexibility and endurance. According to Heart.org, endurance training aims to increase your breathing and heart rate. These are all things we work on in yoga- yet endurance is rarely something we associate with our yoga practice- yet when we hold for “just three more breathes” or do a sequence “just one more time” – that is endurance capacity we are building.
The NHS outlines the physical benefits of performing endurance training including improving the overall health and efficiency of the lungs and the heart. But also, helping prevent diseases caused by cholesterol. However, that is only one side of the coin. What about the mental aspects of endurance training? What about the personal reasons for training such as pleasures and aspirations? In particular, I enjoy long-distance running – it provides me escapism from the chaos of everyday life. Being able to run, creates pockets of isolated time, where I can release any tension formed throughout the week. This psychological aspect of running in some way overrides the physical benefits we’re told it offers.
Listening to the science:
The Harvard Medical School mentions that when you are exercising, your body can release endorphins in the brain (if you have ever heard of runner’s high). These are chemicals our body produces and make us feel happier and less stressed. Say you have a rough week at work or experience some moody children at the dinner table. The release of endorphins is just what we need to prevent ourselves from feeling like we are going to explode like a volcano! Exercise does not just help with your mood, it can help with some aspects of improving memory. The feel-good energy you can experience from a 40-minute brisk walk can increase your ability to sieve information into your long-term memory.
A running conclusion:
Let us all strive to get in some form of endurance training if that is possible. It can be so good for our overall psyche. Also, our soul, body and mind appreciate it when we exercise. One way I have personally improved my endurance is through the yoga classes I teach.