In Corona many people got up from the couch and started running. You probably know a few of these and maybe even yourself. People who never thought they had it, took advantage of the breathing space we could get out of the house in favor of individual sports, and a bit like the Forrest Gump story – started to swallow miles. Many testify that it was breathable air, and from there also a stretch of the edge of ability. It is therefore not surprising that running and physical activity are also a beauty of a tool that helps in daily coping with mental situations, according to Ofrit Kahana, a certified social worker as a running therapist, owner of “Accelerator – Running Therapy” and a member of the SOMEBUDDY community.
“Running is a means of promoting and improving goals, which the patient sets for himself while he is in motion,” says Kahana, emphasizing that progress in running is gradually rewarding and stimulating, and the changes occur in all dimensions:
1. Mental dimension: “A kind of miracle takes place where there are proven ‘results in the field’ and it allows a person a self-perception of success and pride in personal achievements that can be fully credited to him. There is no dependence on another factor: ‘I did it, I ran this and that’.
2. Physical dimension: “Running improves cardiopulmonary endurance (in healthy people) and thus contributes to improving health indicators such as blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.”
3. Emotional dimension: “A feeling of calmness develops, release of the limbs, dissipation of feelings of anxiety and discomfort after about half an hour of running. Those responsible for these feelings are the endorphins whose level rises in the blood while running.”
How is running therapy performed?
What is a therapeutic run?
Therapeutic running gives the patient a sense of getting out of the routine, a kind of thinking outside the box. Which can definitely help in the therapeutic process of changing cognitive schemas, both mental and emotional flexibility. The treatment during a run, can also be used as an intense exercise that is known to help secrete “positive hormones” – endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, which affect depression and anxiety.
When do you talk?
The therapeutic conversation takes place during the walk before the run (a kind of physical and emotional warm-up) and in the recovery after the run. At these stages, the patient shares his feelings and due to lowering defenses, the patient is more “open” to deep and proactive discourse.
What do you get a therapeutic wheelbarrow?
When the patient manages to face the physical challenge despite the fears and despite the fear, with the help of the tools provided by the therapist who accompanies him, the patient will learn and Japanese a sense of true ability which will be integrated into other areas of life. In fact the therapist strengthens the physical ability, and connects to it, through reflection, the physical strength to improve emotional and mental abilities.
The patient comes to therapy with a particular point of view which makes it difficult for him to see himself succeeding in the task or achieving a goal that is meaningful to him. Many times, it also seems that running a significant distance in a sequence falls into the same category. Then the shared process in which we run together a few meters and slowly manage to run a mile in a row is filled with the patient with such significant satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that they feel they can now achieve more goals that previously seemed impossible.
As a therapist this opens up the possibility of imparting the ability to run for the patient who is the person who has not run before, thus giving him also the sense of ability, achievement and power that will advance him in the treatment and personal life.
The use of running is based on two processes that happen in parallel:
- Detection, examination and reference To the physiological processes Which occur in the patient while running. For example, slow or fast pulse, body posture, running pace, feeling of comfort versus discomfort, effort and more
- 2. Detection, examination and reference To the mental processes Which rise during the run. For example, motivation versus relinquishment and helplessness, uncertainty versus planning and control, a sense of control versus loss of control, ability to regulate and be gradual and more. These are processes that can be emphasized and used as elements that the patient can examine for himself both during the run and in the personal coping patterns.
Who is it for?
Three main groups:
1. Girls 16-25: Focusing on body image with an emphasis on the social world
2. Women 35 and over: Accompanying and treating change processes in marital, family relationships, body image, challenges and barriers – who are interested in bringing about change and development in their lives.
Men over 35: At a point in life who are looking for change and dealing with barriers, life challenges in the world of work, relationships and body image
How to begin?
1. Running is a sport that is especially available. You can run wherever you are with no equipment limit or gym opening hours.
2. Start with a light warm-up of the body, you can start with a brisk walk and then gradually extend the duration of the run. Add to the long walk two to five minutes of running, depending on your personal ability, and a total of about three to five sections during the walk. This is a format for teaching the body to run. Of course, you can later increase the pace and extend the duration of the run.
3. The important thing is to listen to the body and not to put a high load on the body at first, but to maintain gradation and thus build endurance as well as the ability to balance the body back after exertion.
4. At the end of the running session – it is important to do release and relaxation exercises, drink water.
5. Experience the feeling of “hi” – do not forget to pat yourself on the back and keep the feeling in memory – so that it is well assimilated and will help us when we think / consider the run next time.
6. It is recommended to do this initially at least twice a week.
7. Listen to the body – it is very important that if during the run or after it you feel pain in the joints, or weakness, or dizziness, or nausea or a combination of all or some of them – immediately stop running and consult a doctor or sports doctor or family doctor.