If you’re a regular Aaptiv user and visitor to our blog, you may have noticed an uptick in running content recently. You may also have noticed it came served with a side of three brand new 5K training programs in the app. So, what’s with all the running? Allow us to explain. Here at Aaptiv, running means alot to us. In fact, it sits at the core of what we do.
“The reason I started the company is because I love running and I love music. I didn’t find a product out there that combined the two,” says Aaptiv CEO Ethan Agarwal, who runs about four to five times per week.
It probably doesn’t surprise you to learn that some of the people behind a fitness app enjoy running. But, trust us, it goes beyond simply lacing up our shoes for a quality workout. A quick survey of the room revealed that running holds a variety of meanings for the members of our team. From mental health to family bonding to better ideas, we lean on running to assist with and improve a lot of the experiences we encounter in our daily lives. It quite literally helps us function better as individuals and as a whole.
So, besides the fact that fall is arguably the best season to run, it simply felt right to dedicate some of our focus to the thing that started it all. Here are a few reasons Team Aaptiv loves to run.
It helps us think creatively.
Running frees up our minds to think bigger, better, and further out of the box. If you’ve ever conceived an award-winning idea or the perfect comeback in the shower, you know what we mean. It’s our mindless time before our sometimes maddening commutes or after a day full of meetings to come up with original and thoughtful ideas. “Running frees my mind. That enables me to do my best creative thinking,” says Andy Rosenberg, Director of Strategic Brand Partnerships. “Most of my good ideas come during my run, which balances out the less exciting ones that tend to come later in the day.”
It keeps us sane.
Stop any runner on the street and they’ll probably agree that it’s a major mood booster (and that being stopped mid-run is not). We certainly think so. Running, in some cases, literally starts our day on the right foot.
“I can’t start my day without a run,” says Sydney Mann, Social Media Manager. “I fully credit those post-run endorphins for getting me through any long, difficult days that pop up.”
And, while physical gains and new PRs feel awesome, the mental benefits trump everything. “Running, for me, used to be more about staying in shape. But now it’s really about balance and my mental health,” says Jess Schwab, Associate Product Manager. “It’s so ingrained in my life that, without it, I feel on edge. It added a lot of happiness into my life.”
It bonds us with loved ones.
There’s a misconception that running is strictly a solo sport. But for a lot of runners, it’s their way to connect with their friends and family. Plus, a little added competition never hurt nobody.
“My mom and I always like to do a special activity when we get together,” says Meryl Abramson, Controller. “I signed us up for a Mother’s Day 5K last year and she came in third. We’re running another one in December, and since we’re both pretty competitive, there will be a lot of practicing and competition beforehand. It’s the perfect way for us to spend time together and bond.”
It grounds us.
Believe it or not, sometimes living and working in the Big Apple can get a bit frustrating. Between packed streets and delayed subways, we can think of a few reasons to feel like imploding from time to time. But, instead, we run.
“Because we live and work in such a big city, it can feel easy to get lost in all the action,” says Schwab. “So having something like running that I get excited about and can continue to get better at makes me feel like I’m doing something meaningful and right for me.”
And, for others on our team, running opened the door to other healthy habits. “Running helped kickstart my journey into meditation,” says Pari Zamani, Director of Growth Content. “For awhile, it was the only quiet time I had to think, reflect, and still my mind. It became my moving meditation.”
It challenges us.
There are a lot of reasons to love running and a lot of reasons not to. It’s not always easy and we can certainly empathize with that. But with the challenge of running comes rewarding change and growth.
“When I was younger, running was how I coped with tough lessons and challenges,” says Chris Fischer, Chief Technology Officer. “I learned quickly that running was the type of sport that you get out what you put in. I’ve been running for 20 years now and I still view it the same way.”
And, while it certainly presents a different set of challenges for everyone, it’s something anyone, anywhere can do. “Running is a true meritocracy,” says Agarwal. “You can’t buy speed or strength or distance–and it doesn’t require you be the best at any of those things anyway. You simply have to put in the effort and you’re guaranteed to get faster, lose weight, or achieve whatever other outcome you hope for. No question about it.”
It connects us to our work.
It’s clear that running impacts the individuals of our team in many meaningful ways. But it all comes back to Aaptiv and the work we do everyday to continue to build a product and community we all love to use and be a part of.
“People ask me all the time if I actually use Aaptiv. It’s cool to be able to give them an honest ‘yes,’” says Mann. “I run with an Aaptiv trainer in my ear everyday and it’s a part of my routine that means so much to me.”
The support and encouragement you see in our #TeamAaptiv community online is a direct reflection of the team we have in-office here in New York. In fact, Schwab and Fischer are running buddies and regularly run together to work or at lunch. “Working at Aaptiv has surrounded me by people that value fitness and wellness as much as I do,” says Fischer. “The extra support I get from the staff when I run or bike into work makes it easy to incorporate running into my daily life and my work. And that beats commuting on the subway anyday.”
Regular running and working out helps us with a lot of things, but especially with relating to our community. “Working in this place and being part of this community where everyone really cares about Aaptiv and fitness, it feels like everyone’s on the same page,” says Schwab. “You realize that every fitness problem you have, someone else has, too. Everyone struggles with the same things as you. And here we have this community and it’s like ‘oh, I’m not alone in this.’”