I discovered my love for running at age 31. Prior to that, I probably stepped foot in a gym maybe once or twice in my 20's (one of those times, with a snickers bar in hand). It started as a bet with my girlfriends based on who could lose the most weight during summer of 2011. After having my second baby, I knew the extra 15 pounds I was carrying wasn't going anywhere anytime soon (I have a love affair with pasta and rice). And so I began my fitness journey on the treadmill and tracks. The first 3 weeks almost broke me. In fact, the first run sucked all the air out of my lungs. Looking back though, I was able to conquer my fear of running and grew to love it because of these 6 reasons:
1. Buddy System - Running by myself from the start would have been impossible for me to stick with. I needed a friend who'd drag me out on the days I had 99 reasons (excuses) to skip. A good friend of mine at work took on this challenge with me, and every other day at lunch, we hit the pavement, scowling on most days, but nonetheless scowling together. Get a buddy. He/She will save you from quitting!
2. Baby Steps - Don't feel bad if you can't run a mile in 8 minutes. In fact, don't even time yourself! The goal isn't to sprint... it's about endurance. Every 8 minutes, I would take a brisk 1 minute walk, and repeat it again after another 8 minutes. It's been more than 2 years now, and I'm finally hitting a 10 minute mile, sometimes less. Even if I run a bit slower on some days, I still feel just as great after my run.
3. Boost of Energy - It never fails that I increase my productivity after exercising. The levels of oxytocin and serotonin increase, leaving you feeling better, energized, and so much more optimistic about anything in general.
4. Me Time - With such a busy schedule at work, with kids, family, marriage, and errands, when do we have time to take care of ourselves? Exercise became the one thing I looked forward to because it was my own time to do just me. It's seriously the best way to stay connected with your mind, body, and spirit. Honoring your body for all the things it does for you and appreciating how hard your heart pumps for you is kind of an amazing thing.
5. My Lotus jeans! - Yes I know it's a little vain, but after 3 months of running I noticed that I started fitting my ideal jeans size... for the first time in a long time! Back in 2011 I only had my Lotus Premium Denim samples which were in sizes 26, 28, and 30. Getting into a size 26 for the first time since college completely shocked me. I really never felt the weight loss, but fitting into my sample jeans really showed me that running not only made me feel better, but slimmed me down as well!
Whether you like to run, hike, dance, swim, play sports, or break a sweat in any other form of exercise, the first step will always be the hardest to take. Remember that done is better than perfect. Don't worry about what you start off with. Just do it! Make small goals and keep meeting them. Your body will honor you, your mind will thank you, and your soul will bless you! I'd love to hear your fitness effect story! Leave a comment here!