The Benefits I've Gained from the Online Health Community

benefits of online running community health livingThe benefits of community are numerous.

A community is basically a network of people that can form a support system that benefits the entire group. Sometimes when you are living in a way that is out of the ordinary, a community like this is just what’s needed to help make good choices that fly in face of the status quo.

Although I wish it were different, trying to live a healthy lifestyle is out of the norm. I love learning about nutrition, trying new foods that are good for me and staying active, but not everyone in my immediate family or among my friends share this same passion. When I happen to stumble upon a group that does have an excitement for healthy living, I was over-joyed.  Where did I find this group?  Online.

This “virtual” healthy living community I’m now part of (that I found in the blogging world) has taught me so much.  For one, I’ve learned that “healthy” is a little bit different for everyone. While in the medical community, “healthy” means “not at risk for disease,” for the average individual it could just mean eating veggies and working out a few days per week. I’ve learned to be less judgmental about foods that people eat as well as to be more open to trying what I used to think of as “weird” foods. I’ve learned that no matter the size or shape, that most people have insecurities with their bodies.

I learned to love running through the online community.

I was also introduced to running through community. Yes, I had heard of running. Yes, I had trudged through the mile run we had to do in high school to assess our fitness level. But through the online healthy living community, I’ve found people who have a passion for running. These people actually like lacing up their shoes and running for miles at a time. They sign up for races, paying money to run distances I couldn’t even fathom of running.

I learned to love pulling on my Asics and pounding out frustration on the pavement. I learned that I could have some really awesome moments of worship during these runs. I learned I could spend time with my Creator and be grateful for the ability to have use of all of my limbs.

[See my running articles: 13.1 Reasons to Sign Up for a Half-Marathon, Ladies’ Guide to Warm Weather Running Clothes, 5 Great Strength Training Moves for Runners]

I have also had the opportunity to meet some of the people who have inspired me over the years in person, and I can hardly describe what happens when we all come together. The feelings of community and mutual understanding are overpowering. There is such peace in knowing that we are no longer the oddball but part of a group of people that shares similar beliefs and past-times.

According to the Mayo Clinic, being a part of a healthy community can reduce stress and depression. It will help you feel less alone in tough times. Being part of a community also provides opportunities for mutual learning and new ideas shared. The support and encouragement gained will motivate you to do things you would have never thought of doing. A community like this will benefit you in ways you never imagined.

The importance and value of community is also mentioned  in the bible. It’s called the church. There’s a reason that we are told to be part of a church — we were made to be around people and to have the love and support from like-minded individuals.  We were created for community.  

So if you feel like you are the only one in your immediate group who cares about your health and well-being, seek out those with similar interests. Find a group, whether it be at a gym, a church, or online, that shares your passions in life. Believe me, you won’t regret it.

Questions:

Are you a part of a healthy community?

What are benefits you find from gathering with like-minded individuals?

Links:

References: Mayo Clinic: Support Groups

Originally posted 2013-09-24 17:00:22.

2 Replies to “The Benefits I've Gained from the Online Health Community”

  1. So true! I used to doubt the value of the internet for community, but I definitely think it can be a good encouragement and starting point for finding like-minded people!

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