Running helps you live longer. While this could be subject for debate, a fascinating TED Talk I saw recently (“The Secret to Living Longer May Be Your Social Life”), solidified my position that running does indeed help you live longer, although not for the reasons we might think. Psychologist Susan Pinter illustrated how social integration – or social interaction – is the key secret to longevity.
A little over a year ago, I wrote about the importance of female friendships and discussed how my running friends supported me after my breast cancer diagnosis. My running friends were also the first to reach out to me after my husband died and they were the majority of the people that made up the attendance at my 50th birthday party the following spring. Even my boyfriend and I share a special bond through running (which I wrote about last year).
Social integration though, we’re told, is not just interactions with those close to us, but interactions with everyone we encounter throughout our day. Running gets us up and out and gives us lots of opportunities to say hello to everyone we pass on the street or the path. I find all those endorphins also make me more upbeat and friendly as I go about the rest of my day as well.
So okay, exercise isn’t going to help us live as long as we thought it would. But maybe it’s not the actual running that helps us lead a longer and healthier life, but rather the friendships we’ve made through running that will keep us moving.
This week in Marathon Training:Cross-training, as you can see from this chart of last week’s workouts, can take on many forms. We need to be flexible in our training in order to create balance with the rest of our lives. Giving ourselves credit for household activities that work the body are a way to do that. While marathon training, I am also prepping my house to go on the market. I imagine there will be more of these creative interpretations of cross-training.