When you hear the word “running,” are you smiling or groaning? I’ve been a runner since high school, when I discovered in high school that it was a great form of stress relief, and I continued to run through college. No matter how cold, snowy or sleep deprived we were, my roommate and I would lace up and run. You can’t beat the benefits it brings: improved energy, healthier heart, and a boost in mood. If running is new to you, here are five things that will motivate you to lace up and possibly fall in love with this amazing form of exercise. Who knows, you might just find yourself running in the snow…
1. You can’t beat the results
Jogging is bound to get your heart rate up and make you sweat. It’s a vigorous form of exercise, and not only will you reap cardiovascular benefits, but you also will burn calories. Once you build up your endurance, running can keep your heart rate in the fat burning zone for an extended period of time and boost your metabolism after your run is finished. If you like seeing the results of your exercise sooner rather than later, running might be for you!
2. You can take baby steps
One of the reasons running can be addictive is because it’s truly amazing to watch your progress. Literally, you can go from only being able to run two minutes at a time your first time out, to running a half hour nonstop in just a month or two. The key is to start with baby steps (run around the block!) and stick with it. By running regularly, and slowly increasing the minutes you are running each time, you will steadily build your endurance. Before you know it, you will be able to run out the door and keep going for 30 minutes. If you want something more structured, check out a Couch to 5k program.
3. The roar of a crowd
Signing up for a 5k can be just the incentive you need to keep on jogging. Many people aspire to finish their first 5k (that’s 3.1 miles) without walking. If this sounds like something you aren’t sure you can accomplish, you just may surprise yourself. When you show up at a race, you are surrounded by a sea of other runners and you absorb the energy of the crowd. Organized races typically have volunteers that not only hand out water for you to drink along the route, but also cheer you on, and to hear strangers encouraging you to succeed is an incredibly motivating experience. Plus, most runs benefit a charity of some type—so you will be supporting a good cause while investing in your health!
4. It’s convenient
I still run today because I like it, but with my travel schedule running is also convenient! With age, however, comes some aches and pains. I laugh because all of my running friends in their late 40s and 50s constantly talk about their knee, hip, and back pain, but we all refuse to stop. You can manage those aches and pains. I find if I stretch really well after, I can stay healthy and injury free. When I travel, running is still my exercise of choice because all you need to run is a good pair of running shoes and an iPhone for music.
4. You fly solo or go in a group
If you like to exercise alone, running can be a great solo sport. But if you want to partner up with a friend or your significant other to get some exercise, running is great to do as a pair. Once you build up your stamina, you will be able to run and converse at the same time. Running also is a great group activity and most communities have running groups you can join to get motivated, build endurance and make some new friendships.
What’s holding you back from running? Share with me below!