The Runner’s Best Route to Better Fitness: 6 Essential Habits

@criene via Twenty20

Make changes slowly

Getting fit doesn’t happen overnight. And going from zero (or very little) to a full-fledged program is not only inadvisable, but probably impossible to stick to.

The 10 percent rule applies to not only how much you were doing the week prior, but also the intensity.

This is for walking, running, cross-training, or strength-training. Add on a little bit more each week and gradually build to the full-fledged program.

Form fitness habits

Do your workouts at the same time each day. Lay your clothes out the night before or in the morning.

Give yourself a routine that becomes second nature so that you start to do it before you have a chance to second guess yourself.

Most fitness enthusiasts or athletes not only find joy in what they do, but their habit of sweating feels routine.

Form lifestyle habits

If you are sweating most days of the week, that doesn’t mean you can slack off elsewhere. Continue to build better fitness in your life by doing as much as possible that keeps you active.

Park your car at the farthest end of the lot, walk whenever you can, do physical chores yourself instead of hiring someone to take care of them, and limit your screen time.

Schedule it

If you are like most people, your schedule already feels jam-packed. There will be days that you have to forgo the workout due to unavoidable life conflicts, but scheduling it makes it far more likely to happen.

Getting it done in the morning means that there are very little things that can interfere aside from the snooze button.

But if you prefer to workout in the afternoon or evening, put it on your calendar like an appointment and allow yourself the time make this commitment to yourself.

Find like-minded people

“You are an average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This doesn’t mean to cut out the people in your life that aren’t committed to fitness, but rather, get to know some new friends!

If you workout together or even hold each other accountable through texts or phone calls, it will make your trek to better fitness easier.

Plus, as you start to grow your circle of fitness friends, you might find that you are inspiring a few couch potatoes yourself.

Rest smart, sleep better

Downtime is essential to better fitness. Your sleep requirements are unique to you, but you should wake up feeling rested, not groggy.

Just as it is important to be active during the day, it is important to make sure you are resting as well.

It is far better to skip a workout when you’ve gotten too little sleep. Don’t stress about it, just get to bed early the next night!

Carissa Liebowitz has run the Boston Marathon as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on StravaInstagram and her blog.

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