Movement is transformational. Of course, you might know about some of the benefits already—exercise has been proven to increase bone density, reduce high blood pressure, and improve sleep (just to name a few things). But can movement also help us become better humans?
HOKA believes the answer is an emphatic yes. In fact, the brand started its recent FLY HUMAN FLY campaign to raise awareness about the benefits of joyful, empowered movement. To help spread the word, we tapped a slew of HOKA athletes and coaches who have experienced the positive powers of movement in their own lives. Here’s what they have to say.
1. Be a Part of Something Bigger
If you’ve participated in a running event—whether a group trail run or a big-city marathon—you know the visceral energy and sense of community these events evoke. Case in point: When HOKA ambassador Mayra Lopez finished the Western States 100 this year, she says she felt a mix of overpowering emotions, including gratitude, luck, and joy.
“To have had the opportunity to be part of such an iconic race is bigger than big to me,” says Lopez. “I wish I could explain the feelings.” The other cool thing about challenging events—including Western States—is that they draw out our strength, sweat, and even tears. Nothing generates camaraderie like strong emotion.
That camaraderie can enhance our lives in real, measurable ways. In fact, one study discovered that those who got moving together experienced more stress relief and calm than those who exercised alone—which might be one of the reasons group classes and races can feel so darn addicting.
There’s nothing like watching people come together and work hard to chase a common goal to remind us of the power of the human spirit. We could all use a little more of that in our lives.
2. Learn What You’re Capable Of
Bogged down in the minutiae of daily life, it can be easy to forget what you’re truly made of. But joyful movement helps remind us.
“When I move, I learn that I am stronger than I think, determined, resilient, and hardworking,” says Eli Hemming, a founder and coach at Aerobic Monsters Coaching in Kremmling, Colorado. He adds that movement has given him a stronger sense of self and more confidence in who he is.
Research shows that this kind of resilience carries over into our everyday lives. In fact, one study found that regular exercisers were more likely to bounce back after a stressful event rather than experiencing a sustained dip in mood afterward. The takeaway? If you can train your body and mind to push through tough times on the trail, you’ll be better suited to push through tough times at work or at home, too.
3. Unlock a Lifetime of Adventure
Falling in love with a type of movement—whether it’s a sport, an art form, or a long-term pursuit like birding or highpointing—has a way of connecting people and unleashing beautifully unexpected cascades of events.
Before you know it, you’re part of a community. You’re traveling to new places to pursue your movement of choice. Pretty soon, that love starts driving exploration—discovering new landscapes and meeting new people along the way.
“Running has given me the ability to see the world,” says Hemming. “I have traveled to almost every continent and gotten to do so on my own two feet.” One of the biggest powers of movement is its ability to connect us to the world around us.
4. Press Reset on Your Emotions
Movement has a way of helping us release the bad and usher in the good. If you’ve ever started a run or walk angry and finished it feeling calm, then you know what we’re talking about.
“Emotions are released through movement, so making time for movement is making time for your feelings,” says Sarah Strong, a mental health professional and trail runner based in the Colorado Front Range. “Regular movement allows us to spend time with and work through emotions that might otherwise build up. It’s self-care.”
A host of studies support the idea of movement as a reset button. In fact, regular exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety, relieve depression, and promote clearer thinking during stressful times. The other good news: You don’t have to max out your heart rate to experience those perks. Recent research suggests that as little as five minutes of low-intensity, rhythmic exercise like biking or running can be enough to turn a bad mood around.
5. Show Up for Those Who Matter Most
“Movement gives me confidence and makes me feel beautiful, strong, and capable, and these feelings cross over into my everyday life and help me be a better me,” explains Tabor Scholl, the other half of Aerobic Monsters Coaching’s founding duo. “Running helps me show up for my husband, family, and friends by allowing me time to think, dream, or get out frustration.”
Whether you turn to movement to feel a connection, to feel strong, or to feel free, giving your body and mind what they need helps you show up as a better version of yourself—both for you, and for those you love most.
Whatever gets you moving, remember that the benefits that await you are well worth it. So, FLY HUMAN FLY.
HOKA® is one of the fastest-growing performance footwear and apparel brands in history. Conceived in the mountains, HOKA footwear delivers an unprecedented combination of enhanced cushioning and support for a uniquely smooth ride. Every day, HOKA pushes the innovation and design of its footwear and apparel by teaming up with a deep roster of world champions, taste makers and everyday athletes. From finish lines to everyday life, HOKA fans love the brand for its bold and unexpected approach, and its belief in the power of humanity to create change for a better world. HOKA empowers a world of athletes to fly over the earth. For more information, visit HOKA.com or follow @HOKA. #FlyHumanFly #TimeToFly
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