Running is addicting, but it doesn’t start off that way for most people. You might think people who love to run are insane and that you could never be like them, but the truth is that anyone can learn to love running and become addicted to exercise.
Why become addicted to exercise?
When you’re addicted to your workout, it’s more than just a routine chore – it’s a passion. It’s something you look forward to every day and it’s something you can’t live without.
Forming an addiction is so much better than forming a habit when it comes to something as healthy as exercise. You can reach your fitness goals faster, and you’ll have a great outlet for your energy to prevent stress and burnout.
Exercise becomes addicting because it feels fun, it’s good for your body, and it releases endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that calm the body, minimize pain, and prevent depression.
They also make you feel energized and happy. If you rarely work out, you may not like the endorphins as much as you hate sore muscles, an increased heart rate, and breathlessness.
At this stage you may be thinking endorphins are cool, but they’ll never be “torture myself every day” cool. Luckily, exercise doesn’t have to feel like torture at all. Here are seven tips to help you become addicted to working out.
Tip #1: Train your body
The secret to becoming addicted to exercise is doing it until your body is in good enough shape for it to become fun. It can feel like torture at first, but once you’re in decent shape, it all becomes easier and more enjoyable.
Running becomes easier, your breathing becomes steadier, and your muscles adapt to your new daily activity. The initial training period can be very hard, but if you push yourself and get through it, exercise may even become your favorite part of the day within the first few weeks.
The following remaining tips can help you get through your initial training period.
Tip #2: Eat well
There is nothing harder than trying to run after eating heavy, fatty foods all day. Junk food and fast food can slow you down, make you tired, and make you less inclined to put on your running shoes and hit the streets.
Eating well really does pay off when it’s time to exercise because it gives you more energy and prevents things like heartburn and dehydration. Some of the best foods for runners to eat include bananas, peanut butter, almonds, green salads, and healthy whole grains.
You can also try making a brewer’s yeast shake for extra energy. You will thank yourself for eating well when it’s time for you to run.
Tip #3: Pick a time
Doing something at the same time every day helps you form a habit faster. You don’t absolutely have to do this, but it can really help automate the process of going out for a run or going to the gym every day.
Some people like to run first thing in the morning before getting ready and going to work. This gets your exercise out of the way and is a great way to start your day. If you’re not a morning person, it’s okay to push your exercise to later in the day. I like to go running around sunset and sometimes at night.
Tip #4: Make it fun
You can make exercising easier by doing little things to make it fun. Wear workout clothes that make you feel good, get some cool running shoes that make you feel excited to use them, listen to music that increases your energy, and run somewhere that you really like.
You can run in your own neighborhood or on a treadmill, but you can also run in the park or on a well-known walking trail in your city. Do everything you can possibly think of to make exercising a joyous activity. This is one of the best ways to motivate yourself to do anything.
You can track your time and compete against yourself to make it more fun and to get a sense of your progress as you continue along. You can also get a running buddy, but I don’t advise relying on them too much in case they decide to drop out.
Tip #5: Don’t skip workouts
You can plan rest days and rearrange your schedule when you’re too busy to workout, but make it a rule not to skip workouts just because you’re feeling lazy. You will feel so much better about yourself if you force yourself to do the workout. You’ll also make it easier for your body to adjust to your new routine rather than making it harder.
If you absolutely don’t have time, or if you’re injured, don’t beat yourself up about skipping a workout. But if you just don’t feel like doing it, do it anyway! Keep going and you’ll eventually start to look forward to it, and you’ll find yourself going out of your way to get your exercise in rather than going out of your way to avoid it.
Tip #6: Warm up before stretching
You should never stretch a “cold” muscle, so always do a little bit of warm up jogging or walking before your pre-run stretch. You can also wait until after the run to stretch without running any risk of injury.
Studies have concluded that stretching before working out does not prevent injuries. It can actually tire and weaken muscles, making it harder for you to run. Stretching is important and it’s healthy to be limber, so make sure to stretch properly at least a few times per week. You can use these stretches as a guide.
Tip #7: Don’t get discouraged
When I first started running, I couldn’t run for thirty seconds without feeling like I was going to die. I never thought I would be able to run ten miles without stopping. I actually prefer the longer runs now than the shorter ones, and I love the feeling I get when I come home from a really long and hilly run.
Not every runner has to run such long distances, but everyone is capable of doing it with a bit of training and practice.
Thirty seconds will turn into a minute, a minute will turn into five minutes, and before you know it you’ll be running for twenty five minutes without even noticing how long you’ve been running.
You can also do interval training to help build muscle faster and to burn more calories. In fact, interval training is great for all runners no matter how long they have been doing it, and it’s a good way for new runners to train and work their way up to running for longer periods.
Key points to keep in mind:
- Training takes time, so have patience and persevere through it.
- Attitude is everything. If you go into it with the intention of loving it and making it an addiction, you will succeed.
- Try not to skip workouts. This will only make training harder for you and take you longer to get addicted to working out.
- Eat as well as you can. Avoid fried foods and don’t eat anything that gives you heartburn or discomfort. It’s also best to avoid alcohol as much as possible.
- Stay hydrated, and drink half your body weight in ounces every day. For example, if you weigh 130 pounds, you should be drinking at least 65 ounces of water a day (a little over eight glasses).
- Get inspired. Buy workout clothes you feel good in, review your fitspiration Pinterest boards before running, find music that energizes you, and track your progress. Do whatever inspires you to keep going.
What gets you motivated to work out? Share with us in the comments below!