Occasionally people ask me for advice on running and/or fitness in general. Whether they’ve heard about my running exploits of 2000 miles in 2011, or have seen my new and improved slender physique :), they seem to think that I have some expertise on the subject. I usually feel a little uncomfortable talking about myself, but I do have a couple of tips that I think could benefit many.
First of all, I am not an exercise junkie. I do not look forward to spending hours and hours working out. As a matter of fact, the reason that I run so much, is because it is so easy to do. I don’t need any special equipment and as soon as I step outside my front door, I’m there, ready to go. If I spend 30 to 45 minutes running outside, I am guaranteed a great workout and some fresh air. Plus, if I add in some hills, it really turns into a full body workout.
I have discovered over the last few years that it does not take a lot of hours in order to get into shape and stay fit. It’s all about consistency. I used to be a weekend warrior. I’d play basketball or tennis, my two favorite sports, maybe once or twice a week. I’m talking about 2 solid hours on the court, maybe three depending on the game or match. I’d be really sore for a few days after, but I felt that I was getting a lot accomplished in the one or two contests/struggles a week. Looking back on those days, I also had a bit of a gut, and spent a lot of my time limping around, recovering the rest of the week from my “athletic” events. Not a good way to be.
Now, I run just about every day. And if I’m not running, I practice yoga. I no longer carry any extra weight, and I have more energy than ever. I am very rarely sore. I attribute this to the length and intensity of my workouts. I try to keep my runs to under an hour, usually 45 minutes or less. When I practice yoga, its also done in under an hour, including the warm-up and meditation/relaxation at the end. That’s it, pretty simple in theory, but not always so easy to do.
So, if I had to sum it up in one word, it would be consistency. Not long, hard workouts. No painful recovery times. Just find something you like to do, and do it everyday. For me, running and yoga are very enjoyable. The key is to do something that makes you happy for at least 30 minutes a day. Nothing less, and nothing more is necessary to stay fit and healthy, at least in my experience.