Although I observe time and time again that being active lifts my mood, on some days it still feels hard to get moving.
Earlier today I was feeling generally overwhelmed and unmotivated--a very blah mood. I tried to reason myself out of doing exercise with excuses: there were no gym classes in my area right now, etc.
But really, I knew that it was bright out and there was nothing to prevent me from going on a quick run.
Ah, running. Easy to schedule (and hard to avoid) because all you need is yourself!
I really do love to run, but there are still times when I can barely motivate myself to get out the door. One tip I picked up recently from Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project is to just run to the mailbox. The idea being that if you just get started, more likely than not, you will keep going.
My mailbox is on my door, so I instead resolved to run around the block-- a mere three minute commitment--then if I didn’t want to go on, I could slink back home. I secured my fivefingers (I wear and love those toe-shoes) and by the corner I was already feeling better and took off for what became a gorgeous, 45 minute solo run.
Sure enough, I have felt much more energetic and more myself since. In addition to the endorphin rush any exercise provides, running makes me feel strong and invincible. I run outdoors whenever possible and observe that just being in nature calms and centers me.
Running is an excellent exercise for a busy schedule because it's easy to coordinate--all you need is yourself--and the run itself can combat stress. A run serves as a moment I have to myself when I can either work through my problems in my head or just zone out to the steady rhythm of my breath and footsteps. I prefer to run for at least 30 minutes, but even a ten minute run has great health benefits and leaves me feeling more energized and calm.
Tips to Squeeze in a Run
(and then your skinny jeans)
- Take a change of clothes, a backpack and run home from work (even if it’s just the last few bus stops) or take quick jog at the lunch hour.
- Work up to running by setting up a run/walk schedule that works for you--maybe run 1 minute, walk 2 minutes, or a similar pattern, for 30 minutes and increase your time running as your stamina increases.
- Listen to music to drown out boredom but keep it very low if you are running near cars--safety first!
- Schedule a jog with a coworker, friend, significant other (shared experiences are great for strengthening any relationship), or join a run club like I am soon!
Just can't get motivated?
You will be able to do it.
Start with running to your mailbox.
A teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington's restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.Are you still committed to any New Years or New You fitness resolutions?