Joining your local cross country team just might change your life

Running has positive physcial and psychological effects


Estella D. Brown

 That first gut-wrenching half-mile run after the New Year, we’ve all been there; your muscles scream and your feet implore rest. While many people look at running as a painful exercise done by a minority group of fitness fanatics, the truth isr that unning can be a positive way to acquire a sense of community spirit and maintain a healthy body weight. 

Individuals interested in Cross Country don’t have to be the fastest runner on the team or have a record-breaking time. This sport focuses on person-centered growth without placing too much pressure on the individual — the true spirit of Cross Country is to incur a sense of camaraderie with other members on the team. 

More specifically, even light participation on a team can have amazing health benefits. For example, the British Journal of Sports Medicine (est. 1964) states on the Harvard Health Publishing Forum that, “In a group of more than 232,000 people it was found that running only once a week for less than 50 minutes had significant health benefits, such as a lower risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and death from all causes” (para four). 

Not only can running help with the physical aspects of your body, it can also aid in physiological aspects as well. Accredited writers, linked to the EBSCO Publishing Service, Szabo et al. indicate that, “Changes in effect from pre- to post-run included positive engagement, revitalization, and tranquility” (para 14).

Moreover, author Eime states that, “It is recommended that community sport participation is advocated as a form of leisure time physical activity for children and adolescents, in an effort to not only improve physical health in relation to such matters as the obesity crisis, but also to enhance psychological and social health outcomes. It is also recommended that the causal link between participation in a sport and psychological health be further investigated and the conceptual model of Health through Sport is tested” (para four).

Paige and Lea Peterson of the Amherst Cross County team would seem to concur:  “We never feel judged or pressured to do good or bad in Cross Country. We feel this way because everyone is so nice and caring; all anyone cares about is having fun and being with each other. Everyone is there for each other in Cross Country; we can go to run and just be present in the moment,” said Paige.

For these reasons, joining a local group centered on running will only positively impact one’s life. Running with others can become an excuse to join a team and grow close to its members.. By that same token, running regularly can lower the risk of certain health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and increase feelings of meaningful engagement.



Szabo et al. EBSCO Publishing Service Selection Page – Ehost2. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2022, from

Eime, R. M. (2013, August 15). A systematic review of the psychological and social benefits of participation in sport for children and adolescents: informing development of a conceptual model of health through sport – International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. BioMed Central. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from

Solan, M. (2020, April 15). Think running is not for you? Try this. Harvard Health. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from