When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, it’s no secret that running can do wonders for your body and mind. However, if you want to feel results, it’s crucial that you learn how to make running a habit. The consistency and repetition of habitual running is exactly what will yield those feel-good outcomes.
Fortunately, the repetitive nature of running doesn’t have to be as boring as it sounds. It comes down to stretching those creative muscles (pun intended) and breaking up the potential monotony of running. Not sure where to start? That’s where this list comes in, folks.
Of course, these tips won’t transform you into an Olympic athlete or marathon runner overnight. Instead, I’m hoping they will spark inspiration for ways to make running a routine activity that suits your personality, lifestyle, and goals. Remember, there is a good chance you will have to experiment before discovering what works for you. It will be worth it, I promise.
For best results, try to run for at least 30 minutes at least five days a week. This recommendation by the American Heart Association is linked with awesome heart health, a boost in energy, and a stronger immune system. What’s not to love?
1. Start slow
Like all good things in life, achieving running goals takes time, patience, and practice. Set your initial aspirations at a feasible, practical level. Once you achieve one thing, push yourself a little further. Not only is this a healthy way to challenge yourself, but you'll be able to appreciate the process so much more.
2. Switch it up
Regardless of how long (or short) you run, it's crucial to break it up into sections. Starting off with a warm-up will help your body ease into the physical activity without going into shock. Wrapping things up with a cool-down will let your heart rate return to normal at a healthy pace.
Whatever you do, leave the intense stuff for the middle. It will minimize the chances of injuries and make exercise more comfortable for both your body and brain.
3. Schedule it
Adding running to your planner or calendar will eventually turn it into a part of your weekly routine. Go easy on yourself and incorporate the activity once or twice a week. Slowly build up to a higher frequency once you get into the swing of things. Once you experience a couple weeks of habitual running, you'll gain the confidence of knowing that you totally got this.
4. Grab a buddy
Consider getting a friend involved. This is an awesome way to create accountability and motivation. For example, a weekly Wednesday morning jog might be exactly what you need to get over hump day. You'll have something to look forward to while getting your sweat on.
5. Use a running app
If you're a visually oriented person, download a running app to help you keep track of everything from your duration to distance. It will provide a boost of encouragement when you have a visual reminder of your fitness improvement. To get you started, try Runkeeper, Endomondo, or MapMyRun.
6. Change the scenery
Switching up your surroundings can do wonders for your motivation. The new views will challenge yourself in the most productive way. This trick is especially ideal for those who love to wander and check out new places. Exploration and health in one activity? Count me in.
7. Reward yourself
It goes without saying that physical wellness and better sleep are natural rewards of running. Yet, creating a reward system for yourself can mold your running habits even further. Every time you hit a milestone, celebrate it. This can include anything from a spa day or a new lipstick. Treat yo' self, people.
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