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Opinion

Running: good for the heart, good for the soul

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October 7, 2011

I’m sure there are a large handful of people out there just like me. People who ran cross-country and track in high school, but didn’t follow up and run in college. Personally, I like running. In fact I still run, just not for the team. I generally tell people that I love running; I just don’t love it enough to be on the team. That and an 8k is a little far to race.

At this point, those of you who don’t like running, or don’t understand why people run for fun, are probably thinking I’m crazy right now. And without training for a race, I can understand that argument. However, running is one of the best ways to work out without a gym membership. Running is something that pretty much everyone can do, at any time, and, with the exception of buying running shoes, it’s free. And who doesn’t like good things that are free?

You always hear the expression, “At least he/she is out there instead of sitting around.” That expression applies to running more than any other form of exercise. You don’t have to be fast, or have good form. If you’re out running you will get a good workout. Besides, if you have no other incentive, it’s a good way to stay in shape and keep that college weight off.

Running can also be great if you just need to get away. If you’re having a tough or stressful day, sometimes there is nothing better than heading out and going for a run. Running with a lot on your mind is one of the best ways to sort out thoughts. I find it very easy to think clearly when I’m running and normally whatever problem I had gets resolved while I’m running a few miles.

Of course, I can’t forget the fun side of running as well. My cross-country coach always said that if we were on vacation, the best way to see a new place was to run around it. I can honestly say that my first few weeks in River Falls was a great way to see everything in the city. Some of you are probably thinking that there isn’t much to see in River Falls. You would be surprised. Also, when you are running in a populated area, you will always encounter the people who live there. People that you run past, or ones that drive past you, can be very entertaining. Rule No. 1 is always to smile and wave obnoxiously if someone says something or waves to you. It makes running so much more enjoyable.

Then there are the things that you find when you run. It’s just amazing what kind of stuff is on the side of trails and roads! For example, I have found such things as a soccer ball, a watch, and a knife. The first day of school, this year, I even found a bike. It was not around when I came back so maybe there was someone I didn’t see. In fact, today I found a shirt. How you can lose a shirt I will never know.

All in all, running can be a ton of fun, as long as you make it fun. Whether you want to lose some weight, stay in shape, or just have some time to think; running is a great past time. I hope if you see me running around River Falls you wave or honk your car horn, so I can wave back obnoxiously.

Benjamin Lamers is an alumnus of UW-River Falls. He was editor of the <em>Student Voice</em> during fall semester 2013.