Historically, road running has prevailed during recessions.
Many road running event planners have been wondering whether the running boom is over for a while now. In fact, since the end of the last great recession in 2013, consumer demand for road running events has been on a steady annual decline.
However, the sport itself has seen an increase in new participants since the outbreak and the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. And the looming threat of another recession will likely see many people in the fitness industry turn to cheaper outdoor alternatives to challenge themselves, like running.
Why does running boom when the economy is bad?
If you’ve been a runner (or spectator) for a while now, you probably know that running is a recession-resistant sport thanks to its relatively low cost of entry for newcomers. So as the general population prepares for another recession, you’ll likely see more runners hitting the roads and trails than ever before.
Specifically, North America saw an uptick in running amid the dotcom crash in 2001 and again during the Great Recession from 2007-09. As Google searches for the term “sell my home fast” skyrocketed by 2750% and “what does a recession mean for me” by 1900%, it’s clear that we might see another recession and, along with it, a running boom. (New York Post)
So with soaring gasoline prices and poor consumer sentiment, it's time we put our rubber to the pavement and hit the ground running. (NPR)
How can you challenge inflation by enjoying running?
Running can help you to challenge inflation’s rising costs in several ways. And while supply chain issues throughout the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic distributed some stock and increased the cost of running shoes, it only had a small impact on the average cost of shoes.
It is relatively inexpensive to start running.
If you are new to fitness and want to take your mind off the world that is crashing and burning around us, the cost of getting started as a new runner or walker is relatively low.
If you’re walking, you probably have clothes and maybe an old pair of sneakers that you could use. If you’re road running, you really only need a pair of moisture-wicking shorts, tights, a top, and some running shoes to get started. And while the average price of a mid-level pair of trainers has increased from ~$160 to ~$170 (before tax), this is only a 6.25% increase over the past ten years or so.
Lucky for us, there has been only a slight change in the price, unlike most other things in our world (movie tickets, gas, and tuition, to name a few). (Ragged Mountain Running)
You can save money without a fitness membership.
For new or casual runners looking for a way to save money, you can forego the monthly fitness subscription and opt for monthly outdoor training plans and bodyweight strength exercises.
If you want to cut costs, a home treadmill or outdoor exercise may be better than the gym’s elliptical machine or pilates class. Of course, choosing an activity you enjoy is important, so don't skip out on the fun stuff just if you can afford it!
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Running is an instant mood booster.
While we would never recommend using exercise in place of therapy, it is scientifically proven that regular exercise through running helps your brain respond to stressful situations (queue inflation/recession) and boosts endorphins. (Cigna)
To maintain the mood and the psychological benefits of running, we recommend getting out 3-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes of activity.
Added benefits are better sleep, better creativity, productivity, a calmer mind, and increased brain power. These benefits sure come in handy if you’re stressing out over inflation.
Metabolism and immune system improvements.
If you’re still not convinced that you can challenge inflation with running, consider the metabolic and immune system improvements that come with the sport.
While getting high-quality fuel (food) into your system is important for sports and everyday life if this is an area you need to cut back on, running can help! When you run regularly, both your metabolism and immune system will improve, so if you don't have the best food or are on a budget, your body will be better able to handle it.
Running is an inclusive sport.
This is a sport that really doesn’t discriminate. Anyone in a running community can tell you that some of the best friendships they have ever made will come from their fellow runners. And on that note, thanks to previous recessions and running booms, thousands of run clubs across the country cater to every age and speed of runners.
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Running is a sport where everyone’s milestones and achievements are celebrated, whether you are an Olympian or couch to 5k runner.
Running is a welcome source of stability during uncertain times.
If you are a new runner looking for a sense of achievement, a former gym-goer wanting to lose some weight, or a long-time community member leaning on your familiar schedule, running can be a great way to bring purpose, harmony, and consistency into your life.
No matter what the economy holds in the future, we can always turn to the sport of running to keep our heads above water.
If you’re looking for an introduction to running or a community run club to join, we’ve got you covered.