Still looking for a New year’s resolution? How about group exercise? If you’re not convinced it’s right for you, try listening / reading the book “The Joy of Movement” by Kelly McGonigal. Not only will you learn why group exercise nearly guarantees a dose of happiness for its participants, but also why a running buddy is likely to become your best friend. But that’s not all – the book is chock full of inspiring stories from people who’s lives were changed when they discovered exercise and others that were able to recover from debilitating illnesses and injuries through movement. One of my favorites is about a woman who lost her son to cancer when he was 10 years old, tried running running to alleviate depression and suicidal thoughts, and achieved solace and a connection to her son’s spirit through running outside. You will likely find that these stories reinvigorate your love for running. Interwoven between are the findings of scientists and researchers, which explains and supports the transformational experiences that we get from movement. Many of us can’t explain why we love to run, but the scientists have figured it out.
McGonigal also dives into the benefits of moving to music. Research has shown that it reduces perceived effort, energizes us, help us push through signs of discomfort, makes our reaction to the symptoms of effort more positive, and alleviates pain with a “powerful adrenaline, dopamine, and adrenaline rush.” Eminem’s “‘Till I Collapse” is one of the “power songs” discussed in the book that has a running-friendly tempo (174 beats per minute). Try it on your next run and discover the power of the “legal performance-enhancing drug.”