As the days grow shorter and the nights begin to feel endless, finding solace in the dark winter days can be difficult. Finding an activity that provides peace of mind is more important than ever during these months. Star of Stranger Things and Violent Nighthe found his escape by running away.
Harbor is no stranger to the difficulty of changing your mental health and transitioning to a new wellness routine. While struggling with anxiety during the pandemic, he chose to clear his mind by going outside for a daily run.
Mustering the energy to run for more than a few minutes at a time was an initial challenge. Harbor told CNET that he ran for a few minutes and walked the rest, then repeated the set all over again. This is a familiar experience for most first-time runners or those just getting back into training. After overcoming these mental and physical obstacles, however, Harbor said, he found undeniable positive mental and physical benefits from running daily.
“My doctor recommended three days a week, 35 minutes of cardio, and it changed all my blood levels, so it’s a pure physical benefit,” Harbor said. “Mentally, it strengthens your mind in the sense that you show up and even on those days where you don’t want to run or feel tired, you just show up and do what you can.”
While it may take some time to get into physical shape, overcoming the voice in your head that says “I can’t do this” and fighting the natural urge to compare yourself to the person next to you can be one of the most the big challenges. It’s hard to learn not to worry about your time while the person on the treadmill next to you is running 10 times faster. How does Harbor overcome this? “It’s nobody else’s run, and they shouldn’t be taking up space in your brain either.” Your running, your life, your health, your well-being, is up to you, the pace you go at, and that’s all.”
In an effort to promote physical fitness and mental health while giving back to their community this holiday season, Harbor has partnered with Brooks Running to support the Buy Gear, Give Gear program.
From Dec. 8 to Dec. 14, Brooks hosted a “Buy Gear, Give Gear” event, asking shoppers to donate “a year’s worth of gear” to Back on My Feet. By offering financial literacy classes, job skills training programs and daily runs, Back on My Feet aims to help homeless people and those living in addiction centers find a solid path to independence and physical fitness. On Dec. 3, Harbor surprised the Back on My Feet band members in New York with brand new Brooks gear during their run. He also teamed up with Brooks as part of the “This Is Your Run” campaign in August.
“This Back on My Feet program is quite profound in its simplicity. People are struggling and they don’t know where to turn, and you give them a place and a time where they can show up and just do what they can for the day,” Harbor said. “There’s something about having a nice pair of shoes that you use for running, which has a ritual behind it when you put them on. You go downstairs, put your shoes on, and then go out for a run.”
Although Brooks’ Buy Gear, Give Gear program may be ending, you can still give back this holiday season by donating to the Back on My Feet organization. If you’re looking to improve your mental health this winter, lace up your Brooks and hit the road for a run. Who knows, you might like it – stranger things have happened.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.