And the Award for the Freest Form of Exercising Goes To -> Running

This year’s lockdown and social distancing recommendations in America has impacted how individuals exercise in public. Visiting a gym has become a risky proposition with concerns about the spread of COVID-19 despite the six-feet apart and face-covering guidelines [1]. Consumers have resorted to purchasing gym equipment and fitness apps for home, paving a new way of working out. However, this revolution comes at a steep price from spending on exercising equipment, such as a stationary bicycle (Peloton) or treadmill (NordicTrack), and fitness devices like the smartwatch (Apple Watch or Fitbit Versa).

Having a personal gym can be beneficial for the fitness enthusiast, but maybe of a risk to others. People susceptible to injury or exercise-induced asthma should consult with a physician prior to engaging in intense physical activity, especially from home [2]. However, there is a lower-cost alternative, and it involves donning a pair of shoes and workout clothes, which is running.

There is nothing freer than being outdoors and unbounded to where you can set your foot on. With one foot in front of the other in a cycle of motion, the road is yours. And all of this activity is free to you and available at your convenience. No need to spend time getting to-and-fro the local gym if you have a membership, nor there is a need to partake in cleaning and maintenance if you have fitness equipment at home. You can get out the door and on the road running much quicker than driving to the gym, changing into workout clothes in the locker room, and finally hopping onto a treadmill (but then you are still bounded by the treadmill).

Running outdoors has many other perks. One is that it promotes mental well-being by better management of stress and reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety for those affected [3]. This will be helpful as 2020 continues on.

Prior to these events and social distancing guidelines, there was a time a runner could participate in a road race with others, whether it be a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, or the full marathon. Although there is a race-entry fee to pay, you actually get a lot of things including memorabilia, sample snacks, and a race T-shirt. Above all else, you have the running community with you, which can be therapeutic from the sharing and enjoyment of leisure time and the positive emotion in participating in the running event [4].

No matter the running background, everyone shares common ground in preparing for the race and the happiness from finishing the race. When we return to normalcy one day, and if you haven’t participated in a road race yet, you are encouraged to sign up for a road race. Start with a 5K, and move your way up in distance. You are free to level up.


[1] NPR. (2020). My gym is reopening. Is it safe to work out there? Retrieved from

[2] Nyenhuis, S. M., Greiwe, J., Zeiger, J. S., Nanda, A., & Cooke, A. (2020). Exercise and Fitness in the Age of Social Distancing During the COVID-19 Pandemic. The journal of allergy and clinical immunology. In practice8(7), 2152–2155.

[3] Keating, L. E., Becker, S., McCabe, K., Whattam, J., Garrick, L., Sassi, R. B., Frey, B. N., & McKinnon, M. C. (2018). Effects of a 12-week running programme in youth and adults with complex mood disorders. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine4(1), e000314.

[4] Malchrowicz-Mośko, E., & Poczta, J. (2018). Running as a Form of Therapy Socio-Psychological Functions of Mass Running Events for Men and Women. International journal of environmental research and public health15(10), 2262.

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