When Dr. Monique Tello, a public health specialist, was invited to write a blog post for the Harvard Medical School website, she explained why running has the potential add years to a runner’s lifespan.
Her source for this proposition? Experiments undertaken by Duck-chul Lee and four other equally credentialed scientists. Their thesis concludes that “In general, runners have a 25– to 40-percent reduced risk of premature mortality and live approximately 3 years longer than non-runners.”
What wasn’t included within the body of that article was whether or not participants taking part in the 55,000-person study ran alone or in the company of others.
But as good fortune would have it, there are plenty of other experiments and studies that support solo running as a way to add years to one’s life.
For example, many runners agree with our previous article filled with data that adds to the body of research on solo running published of late.
Do you worry that running alone isn’t the best way to pursue the sport you love?
Are you concerned about getting lonely, feeling less motivated or do you worry that you might give up too easily?
Don’t be. Solo runs can trigger benefits that contribute so much to your mental and physical well-being, you’ll likely change your mind.
Benefits of Solo Running
Here are examples of athletes choosing to run alone in order to benefit their minds and bodies:
- Olympic marathoner Carey May says that running alone helps her maintain inner discipline because it gives her the “mind space to relax without the need for conversation or meeting someone else’s needs or goals.” May’s Olympic milestones attest to this practice.
- Jasmine says she likes training with friends and groups because her mates keep her accountable and push her harder. But solo runs, she discovered, build character and have made her mentally stronger. “I must find motivation within myself, and that took some time to master,” she recalls. Running alone has the potential to impact a lone runner in valuable ways that include taking time to set personal goals and figuring out how to achieve them.
- “Train with a team or a group,” says Dr. Corey Rovzar and you will have to deal with the ongoing pressure of showing up and keeping pace. But, if you’re alone, you can listen to your body more thoughtfully, warm up and cool down in accordance with how your body feels, and you gain the flexibility “to take rest days as needed, which is key for staying injury free,” says the physical therapist.
- Running alone promotes relaxation, because one can soak up nature’s energy without interruption. Radio Canada International cites a study done by Harvard University that suggests people live longer if they relax their brains.
Start to Run On Your Own
There is no better way to calm brain activity, says Dr. Iris Gorfinkel, a family physician, and founder of Prime Health Clinical Research in Toronto. “People with a less-active brain, or less excited brain, live longer,” She adds.
Running alone is a habit that isn’t always easy to adopt, but for those who try, the solitude, peace and self-awareness only experienced when there are no human distractions accompanying a run are priceless and scientifically proven to add years to one’s life.
Do you have what it takes to begin your own experiment with solo runs in order to increase the number of years you live?
We’d like to hear about your adventures as they relate to incorporating this practice into your life.