How Running Helps Me Stay Connected to My Friends

running in the woods
Supplied by Sangeeta Kocharekar

One of my favourite ways to catch up with friends is to walk or run a coastal track together. While I love exploring a new path, I live next to the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk, so it’s my go-to. Despite walking or running it at least once a week for the 8+ years I’ve lived in Bondi, I still can’t get over the views — and my phone’s camera roll is a testament to that.

After work or on the weekends, you can usually find me traipsing up and down the famous coastal walk with a pal or two in tow. If none happen to be free, I’ll often even just call a friend for a (puffed) catchup.

Walking or running with friends gives me such a high. I run because I get an endorphin rush and a great sense of accomplishment from managing to peel myself away from the comfort of my own home (read: Netflix) to get outside, breathe in the fresh air and move my body. Though I’m all for staying in shape, running allows me so much more than just the physical benefits — it helps my mental health, too.

Combine all that with the feel-good chemicals I get from an amazing D&M with a friend and I’m walking (or often, limping from sore legs) on cloud nine as I head home.

Recently, I’ve started wearing a pair of New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12 ($260); plush running shoes with an intuitive, soft fit that’s been making the whole experience even better. The pinnacle offering from New Balance’s running lineup, the 1080s offer runners (and walkers, too) more comfort over longer distances, through the top-of-the-line performance tech the brand is known for.

Not only are the shoes super comfy, but they’re also a bright mango, apricot and orange colourway (in other words, eye-catching), so I’m always getting compliments on them.

For someone living halfway around the world from her immediate family (my family is in the US), I have to make a conscious effort to keep up my connections. “Social connection can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem and empathy, and actually improve our immune systems,” reads the article, The importance of human connection by CMHA. “By neglecting our need to connect, we put our health at risk.”

Staying in touch with my friends is crucial for me. And I feel so lucky to get to do it while getting an extra feel-good chemical rush from running and walking. If you’ve yet to try meeting up with friends for a run or walk, or have done it a few times but don’t do it often, hopefully this has inspired you to try it more.

Invest in a pair of joggers designed specifically for running, like those in the New Balance Fresh Foam range, then head to a park or your favourite hiking trail and call up a friend or two to meet you. Your post-run self will thank you for it, I promise.

If you’re looking for a pair of shoes that’ll help you bound out of bed each day and get moving, try the New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v12 ($260), and let us know what you think!

Image: New Balance
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