Though you feel like you run all day – to meetings, to catch the bus, to meet up with friends – the thought of actually lacing up a pair of running shoes makes you run for cover. Though running is simple in the sense that no equipment or pricey gym membership is necessarily involved, it does require a physical exertion without the assistance of a machine, such as with a stationary bicycle. Getting yourself out there on the trail or track, rather than nesting on the sofa, may require a bit of motivation.
Consider the calorie-burning benefits of regularly including running into your workout program; running at the pace of 6 miles per hour, or a 10-minute mile, can burn approximately 400 calories in 30 minutes, according to "Fitness" magazine. For the same duration that’s a greater calorie deficit than the elliptical trainer, swimming or cross-country skiing.
Think of the muscular benefits you get from regularly running. Running works multiple muscle groups at one time, including your core, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. So along with a healthier heart – also a muscle – your abs, butt and legs become stronger and shapelier.
Remember how relaxed you feel after a run. Relieving stress, anxiety and tension is a reason why many women lace up their running shoes and hit the road, track or treadmill. Allow your brain to unwind as you run off the pressures from your boss, co-workers or family.
Create an energizing playlist to listen to while you run. Music can help to change your mindset by pumping you up and encouraging you to keep going. Rather than look at measuring miles, consider planning your run to a certain number of songs, such as eight or 10, which can be more fun and energizing than looking at your watch.
Plan an enjoyable route. Depending on what’s available to you, run along the ocean, a river, a scenic trail or a path that offers a breathtaking view; the scenery alone can take your mind off the aspects of running that you don’t like while you enjoy those that you do. Additionally, run at a place you like; if the gym and treadmill aren’t for you, then take your run outside. Likewise, if allergies tend to make running miserable, consider joining a gym where you can run pollen-free.
Run with a friend. The buddy system can be an effective method for getting you to lace up your running shoes. Schedule your runs in advance to avoid conflicts with work or family responsibilities. Encourage each other; you will both likely have days when the last thing you will want to do is exert yourself through a run. Remind each other of your progress and goals and why you started running in the first place.
- Consult with a physician before beginning an exercise program for the first time, if you have not worked out for a while or if you have any chronic health issues.
Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.