It’s a well-known fact that regular physical activity not only strengthens your bones and muscles, but also comes with many other health benefits. Running is no exception. Running for just five to ten minutes per day, whether at a fast or slow pace, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and neurological diseases. It also improves mood, sleep, and concentration. Whatever your age, size, ethnicity, fitness level, sex, or shape, you too can reap the rewards of running.
Everyone is different. How often you should run and for how long depends on your fitness level and goals. Some people run to lose weight or improve their health, while others run to compete in races or just try something new. Whatever your reason, you may already have so much on your plate trying to juggle family life and working hours and are wondering how you could fit running into your busy schedule. It requires some creativity and a lot of commitment, but it is possible. We’ve provided a few tips on how you can make it happen.
1.Make running a priority
If you think about how hectic your current schedule is, it may be tempting for you to never find the time to squeeze in a run. But if you schedule running like an appointment and set an alarm for it, you’d be more likely to stick to it. There’s no standard plan—just develop a schedule that works for your lifestyle. Running before breakfast is one of the best ways to start your day, but if you’re finding it hard to get out in the mornings, then try running during your lunch hour or perhaps from your office to your home after work. Try to run at the same time every day as often as possible to develop a habit.
When preparing for running, try to warm up a little before getting started. Warming up before running is critical because it gets your blood pumping and your muscles ready for the run. It also helps avoid injuries. Be sure to incorporate rest days as well. These are important because your body needs time to recover, especially if your runs are intense.
If you’re a beginner and not sure how to start, begin at a pace that you’re comfortable with and keep runs to two to three days per week—alternating between walking and running might be the best technique for you. A useful rule of thumb is that if you find yourself panting and out of breath and are not able to carry on a conversation while running, then you need to slow your pace. Then, as your stamina improves, gradually increase your runs to four or five times a week.
2.Find a running partner
One of the many benefits of running with a partner is that it helps you stay the course. It helps you develop consistency in your running routine. You’ll be a lot less likely to miss a run if you know that someone is depending on you to be there. If you don’t know anyone that you can run with, consider joining a running community. Before making plans to run with anyone from the running community, be sure to google them or use PhoneHistory to look them up. You need to ensure that they are who they say they are.
3.Focus on the benefits of running
Running has many benefits, and if you keep them all in mind, you’ll surely be motivated to start running and keep going throughout your life. When your motivation is low, just remember how good you’ll feel after your run. The endorphins released during running improve mood, ease stress, and can even lead to a feeling of euphoria.
If for some reason you’re unable to meet your daily minimum, don’t skip the run at all—consider running at a slower pace instead. Run for whatever amount of time you have available because research shows that even the shortest runs improve heart health and cardiovascular endurance. Not only that, but it will also keep you in the routine of regular running.
If you do have to miss it someday, don’t beat yourself up. Count it as a rest day. Your body needs rest days, especially after physical activities. Resting helps your body recover.
4.Prepare the night before
Running is an easy and inexpensive way to get and stay in shape. You don’t need much to start running. All you need is a good pair of sneakers (one that fits your feet and the way you run) and a comfortable tracksuit. Sticking to your run becomes so much easier when you prepare your gear and plan your route ahead of time.
Nothing wastes more time than searching for your running clothes, shoes, and everything else you may need. It’s smarter to prepare the night before: check the weather forecast, charge your phone, and lay out your pre-run snack and your running gear. If you’re one of those who runs during a lunch break at work, ensure that your bag is packed the night before. Don’t forget to include your post-run snack or meal—you’ll need it to refuel quickly after the activity.
The bottom line
Although running is an easy and inexpensive way to get and stay in shape, incorporating it into your daily schedule would require some creativity and motivation on your part. Taking into account all of the benefits of running is enough to encourage anyone to make running a priority. It can motivate you like nothing else. If you do choose to take up running, you need to remember that everyone has different fitness levels and goals—there’s no one size fits all schedule. You would need to develop a schedule that works for your lifestyle. And if after all is said and done, you feel like you need some motivation, you may want to consider finding a running partner to help keep you going. Consistency is key to achieving your goals, so buckle up and kick off!