Stay the course and get in stride! Continuing a healthy fitness routine doesn’t require a gym membership or fancy gear and over the top classes. All anyone needs is a desire to improve themselves and a great way to keep fitness in your daily routine is running. Running might not be on the top of everyone’s go to fitness routine, but it should be.
Running solo isn’t typically considered the most exciting or motivating way to work out, but there is a solution, or solutions rather. Here is a list of things to do when running to break up, what some think is monotonous.
- Make a Race Out of it – For example, when you see a car coming, increase your speed until it passes you. If you aren’t near traffic, compete against yourself by timing the amount of time it takes you to run to and then from a fixed spot. This is a great way to set small goals for yourself by seeing if you can shave some time off your return trip.
- Smile – Seriously, smile while you tread. Putting on a happy face embodies the “fake it til you make it” mentality. This might sound ridiculous, but studies show that through the simple act of smiling you can actually improve your mood (even if smiling is the last thing you feel like doing). Researchers at the University of Kansas asked subjects to submerge their hands in ice water. Half of the test group they asked to smile, the other half remained straight faced. The smiling group showed faster drop in heart rates after the test. Whereas the other, non-smiling, group took longer for their bodies to recover from the stress of the freezing water. The researchers concluded that smiling was a helpful coping mechanism for stressful situations. Running is beneficial in a number of ways, but it is still a source of stress on your body.
- Become an Action Hero – No, you don’t need a bat cave or cool gadgets, all you need is a little imagination. Not many things beat boredom like turning yourself into a comic book hero, enter free running (or Parkour). Free running revolves the most efficient way to move from one place to another, no matter the obstacle. This is a great way to forget about looking cool or normal and is a wonderful way to express yourself without fear of embarrassment. Some key advice is to start small, jump over a puddle or a log. But think big in terms of energy, embody your inner super hero (anyone that looks at you awkwardly is just impressed or fascinated). If you enjoy it, consider taking a class where you will learn safe techniques for advancing your newly found craft.
- Run with your Dog – Research shows that dog owners are more likely to make healthier lifestyle choices than their non-dog owner counterparts. Dog just want to have fun and there are many breeds that make excellent running mates. A dog’s enthusiasm can be contagious, so let it inspire you to take on that challenge of the extra mile! Say you are pup-free, no worries, ask a friend if you can start training with his. Better yet, ask him to join you. A good rule of thumb is that most dogs, like people, need to ease into running longer.
- A Different Method of Running – Skip, hop or jump your way into a fitness routine! Swap out your traditional running intervals with these playful moves. Not only is it fun, these movements help build bone density, improve agility and coordination and increase your cardio intensity. Plus, is it possible to feel badly while skipping? I think not.
- Get your Social on – Run with a group or get involved in a running club. This is a great way to not only learn new routes, but is a great way to meet running buddies that will help you keep accountable for your fitness goals. If there aren’t any running clubs near you, create one with family and/or friends.
- Run to Your Favorite Music – Sometimes it is challenging to push ourselves outside of our fitness comfort zone. When you run to music, it helps you focus on the beat rather than the run itself. For an extra dose of awesome, create your own inspirational running play list.
- Run for a Cause – it is as simple as that. Find a cause that you feel passionate about and run for them, this is a good place to start Crowdrise. Crowdrise allows you to raise money for any cause! Plus, you can get a team together to make it more fun.
- Walk – Remember to cool down after you run. This gives your legs a chance to recover before you come to a complete halt. This is a good practice while on your run as well. Every few minutes take short walking breaks.
Gear up! Running, as mentioned earlier, can put some stress on your body, especially your legs. So it is important to have the right kind of gear to keep your body safe. Make sure you have proper shoes, clothing and compression gear. Though compression gear isn’t necessary for a great run, compression socks and leg wear can help support your legs, keeping them strong and healthy.
Remember, start slow. It is awesome to start a new workout plan and to be excited about the next step, but don’t push yourself beyond your limits. Push yourself to beat your goals and continue to set new goals for yourself, but don’t go so hard that you cause yourself injury and setbacks. Happy striding!