Exercise. People either love or loath it. How about you? If you fall into the Loath-It Camp, then you may find yourself relating to my love-hate relationship with running.What's the secret to enjoying exercise? It's as simple as slowing it down and taking your time. Click To Tweet
Running. I couldn’t stand it. There’s a reason high school athletic coaches use running as “punishment.” It’s pure torture. At least I thought it was once upon a time.
I avoided running for “pleasure” until sometime after college when I noticed more and more “fun runs” popping up all over the place. There must be something that I’m missing. How could all these people willingly sign up… to run?
After seeing yet another 5K advertisement, I tentatively made the decision to give it a try.
I laced up some brand new kicks, popped in some ear buds and bounced out the door ready to set my own personal record. I started off strong, confident with my head held high and a smile on my face. I waved at passerbys, breathed in deeply and thought,
“Yes! This isn’t so bad. This is what this running thing is all about. I’m flying! I wonder how far I’ve done?”
I glanced down at my phone. 0.23 miles.
“Hm… I must have run further.”
I continued my trek around the block. I started to feel my face redden, my breath became labored, my legs burned. I resisted looking at my phone for as long as I could before finally giving in. Please say at least a mile. Please say at least a mile. 0.47 miles.
“WHATT?!! There must be something wrong with this thing.”
I huffed and puffed my way back, tossed the still-fresh-from-the-box sneakers in my closet and called it a day.
“That’s it! I just can’t run. It’s awful, and I just don’t like it! I DO need something to eat though…”
The Simple Secret to Enjoying Exercise
If this story sounds familiar to you, don’t despair. I made one crucial mistake when I set out to make running enjoyable. I went too fast.
The secret to enjoying exercise is to slow down.
Like learning any new skill, it requires time. The first time you rode a bike you didn’t just hop right on and zoom away. No, it takes a lot of practice before you are pedaling at top speeds.
Too many people jump into an exercise program and end up doing too much too soon. Unsurprisingly, their bodies aren’t used to it, they feel completely awful while doing it and end up sore for days and days after. It doesn’t have to be like that!
Slow down and take your time when starting a new exercise program. If you aren’t sure where to start, find yourself a personal trainer who can help. Also, be weary of any instructor who pushes you too much. Motivation is a great thing, but you won’t feel motivated if you are pushed beyond your limits. You won’t feel motivated if you are injured.
Slow and steady wins the exercise race, but I have one more word of caution. Let’s get back to my running story.
A few years went by after my original attempt at a “fun run” before I thought I’d give running another try. This time I was armed with the Couch to 5K program and ready to go. The Couch to 5K program is a great way to start running. It combines running and walking and slowly builds until you are running a 5K completely.
Well, I’m happy to say that I successfully made it through the program. In fact, I fell completely in love with running.
Soon I was signing up for races left and right and going for runs every day. There was only one problem.
I was doing too much too soon.
It wasn’t long before I developed runner’s knee. And, just like that, I was back to where I started.
It’s amazing when you finally find a workout or exercise you love. With all those endorphins, you’ll want to spend all your time doing that exercise. You’ll want to keep improving, and you’ll want to keep seeing results. Don’t go overboard and overdo it. An overuse injury will stop you right in your tracks.
So, what’s the secret to enjoying exercise? The secret to enjoying exercise is to be patient; take it slow and steady. If you want to enjoy exercise for the rest of your life, there’s no reason to rush it. Find something, any physical activity that you like, ease your way into it and you’re sure to find yourself sticking with it for many years to come.