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Couch to 5k: How to Get Moving This Summer
This is it: the summer you finally commit to your dream of becoming a runner. You may have a goal of entering a race, or maybe you’re just tired of the gym and need a new way to exercise. Whatever your motivations are, if you’re looking for an easy way to get started, read on for some great ideas.
I Don’t Run.
We understand. Running isn’t for everyone. But it is a great (and free) way to get some exercise in and some calories burned. It should be noted, however, that running is considered a high-impact activity, meaning it can take a toll on your joints and muscles. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it; it just means you might be sore afterward.
When you get dressed for a good run, you will want to be comfortable. Even if it’s cold outside, you will probably get warm when you run, so dressing in light layers that you can remove along the way is a great idea. And you need shoes that will support you for the long haul, so put away the Toms and grab your tennis shoes.
Where Should I Go?
Where you run is up to you – you might find a nice park nearby, or maybe you’re more of a treadmill person. Running can happen anywhere you have the space. One note: you might want to consider changing your running spot every so often, so you don’t get bored, which is not very motivating for a run.
You will want to be well-hydrated before and after you run. (Don’t drink too much water right before a run, because that can make you feel sick.) Drinking throughout the day is a good idea anyway, because your body needs the hydration. And if you’re going for a run – forget about it. Your body will thank you for the extra water while you’re running!
I Keep Giving Up!
Motivating yourself to run is hard, especially if you are doing it alone. Try joining some local running clubs or ask a friend to join you on your next run to help you stay accountable and to make the run more enjoyable. You can even set up a running schedule with a group to help you make it part of your weekly routine.
How Often Should I Run, Anyway?
This is another area that is really up to you. We encourage you to start small, especially if you haven’t run very often before. Try setting a goal to run two or three days a week for twenty minutes and work your way up to more days for longer periods of times.
But, Like… How Do I Even Start?
A lot of people feel lost in the process of becoming a runner. We love apps like Couch 2 5k, or C25k for short, which helps you start at a reasonable pace and gives you cues for slowing down, speeding up, and increasing your overall speed. Most basic features of the app are free, so it’s an ideal tool for someone who isn’t sure they want to fully commit.
You may want to add some tunes to your run as many runners find that they can pace themselves more easily to music, allowing them to meet their time goals and give themselves some breaks as they run. Multiple music streaming platforms, like Spotify, have ready-made playlists that will give you some inspiration.
What if I Hate It?
You might not be a runner – and that’s okay. But how will you know unless you try? Using an app like C25k will help you master the basics, and you might just discover that there was a runner in you all along. And if not, you can still rest assured that you can hold your own in any spontaneous three-legged race challenges.
If you’re ready to get moving this summer, there are lots of ways to start! Running gets bonus points for requiring no extra equipment, being available 24/7, and allowing you to exercise while catching up on Netflix. Start small and by the end of the summer your amazing speed and endurance will be the talk of the town.
How to manage stress and anxiety during a pandemic
With news about the current pandemic on a loop, as well as other factors looming over our heads, right now is a stressful time for everyone. News about the Coronavirus has affected almost every aspect of society. And, with more people staying in and practicing social distancing, this can severely impact mental well-being. If you’re coping with feelings of stress and anxiety, you’re not alone—here are a few tips to help you manage those feelings:
Stick to your usual routine
In this era of uncertainty, having a sense of normalcy is critical to maintaining your mental health. It’s one of the few factors you can control, so it’s essential to ensure you’re sticking to a routine, just like any regular day. Do what you would accomplish on a normal work morning—wake up, shower, and get dressed as if you’re going to run into people. It’s also vital to avoid burnout by enforcing your work hours.
Keep yourself occupied
While it seems easy to treat this period of social distancing as an opportunity to veg out and watch Netflix, it quickly grows old. There are surprisingly a ton of things you can do from the comfort of your home. You could experience a virtual tour of the Louvre, started spring cleaning, or even learn a foreign language. Either way, finding something to stay occupied will relieve some boredom you might face.
Take a break from the news
It’s essential to stay informed, but constantly hearing news about the pandemic is exhausting. Every once in awhile, take a break. Whether it’s from social media, reading, or even having the news playing in the background, shut it off. Find something uplifting to watch or listen to, so your mind will be on other things. Puppy videos are highly recommended, because who doesn’t love puppies?
Yoga and meditation are highly beneficial—there are numerous physical and mental benefits. Yoga and meditation are proven methods to help relieve stress and anxiety. People of all ages and fitness levels can participate, and you don’t have to be an expert, either. There are dozens of apps and YouTube channels that guide you on the essentials of yoga and meditation. Headspace is an app that’s great for beginners—their free basics pack instructs you on the fundamentals of meditation. Yoga with Adriene is another fantastic resource—her YouTube channel is filled with over 500 free videos for all fitness levels and ages. From simple meditation to yoga for writers, there’s something for everyone.
Talk to others
Just because people are social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t keep in touch with people. Staying home and not having any social interaction can take a huge toll on your mental health. As humans, social interaction is essential for coping with stress and anxiety. So, it’s especially important to maintain contact with friends and family. Set FaceTime dates, or pick up the phone and call a friend or family member. It’s always great to hear someone else’s voice and have someone to talk with about whatever issues you may be facing.
We understand this is a difficult period for many of you. We hope that these tips will help you manage your stress and anxiety and get you through this crazy, confusing time.
For more information on coping with stress and anxiety during COVID-19, visit cdc.gov.
Getting healthy & joining a gym on a budget
It’s that special time of year where everyone resolves to do achieve a goal or to try something new. For many people, they vow that, beginning with the new year, they will become healthier than ever before. Many people decide join a gym or a fitness class, while others commit to eating more greens. But how do you go about actually achieving these goals – especially if you are on a tight budget? We have some ideas on ways to make your resolutions come true.
Do your research
It’s okay to admit that you probably spend a lot of time on social media. We understand. And we think you should put it to work for you! Ask your friends about their favorite way to get healthy, and look up reviews of some of your local gyms or health centers.
Start with small goals
You may have big plans for the year, but you’re actually more likely to be successful at getting healthier if you set smaller goals to help you get to your big goal. If you want your veggies to cover half your plate, try adding them to your dinner twice a week, and then four times a week, and work up from there. Starting too big too soon will just lead to frustration.
Joining a gym can be pricey, but there is good news – you don’t have to join a gym to exercise. Try going for a walk around your neighborhood, or swimming at a local pool, or biking through a park. If it’s raining outside, look up some videos on yoga or dance routines. Invite a friend to join you so you’ll enjoy your exercise more and keep each other accountable in the process.
Know your options
If using a gym seems like a better fit for you, great! Many gyms will allow you to pay per class instead of purchasing a monthly membership, or will give you a free trial period to make sure the facility is a good fit for you. Taking advantage of these options will be easier on your wallet and allow you to experience a range of classes and equipment at the gym.
Make a plan
A popular phrase you may hear is “failure to plan is a plan to fail.” It may be a cliché, but it’s also true. Decide not only what your goals are, but how you will accomplish them. Write it down in a journal, email it to yourself, or text it to a friend who can help you stay accountable. Or maybe do all three if you’re really forgetful.
Grocery shop online
Several grocery stores chains have started offering an online grocery shopping experience, where you select what you want from the store’s website, arrive at the store at a designated time, and relax while a store employee loads the groceries into your car. This is not only a great way to keep an eye on your budget, but it also saves you from impulse-buying the discounted candy in the seasonal aisle on a whim.
Open that Pinterest app
Again, it’s pretty likely that you have a Pinterest account set up already. And if you don’t, we highly recommend it. Why? Because Pinterest is home to dozens of new recipes that can be tailored to both your budget and your health goals. Search for your favorite recipes and enjoy the dozens of results that come pouring in.
Substitute healthy choices
Have you ever tried spaghetti with veggie noodles? Do you think a turkey burger could be delicious (provided you have enough cheese, of course)? Look for ways you can swap out the less healthier parts of your menu with some lighter, better substitutes. Zoodles might not be your favorite thing, but you won’t know until you try! This is another instance where asking your friends for their favorite healthy meals could be very helpful.
Tell the world
Okay, you don’t have to tell the whole world about your fitness goals. But you should consider telling a friend or a group of people about what you hope to accomplish with your help. They will become a great resource for you to rely on when that birthday cake at the office is just too tempting. And they will be the ones to celebrate with you when you reach your final goal!
Ask an expert
If you are feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of a health overhaul for your life, we get it. Consider reaching out to your primary care provider and asking him or her what they would recommend to help you become the healthiest version of yourself. They will be able to provide you with expert advice, and since you probably haven’t gone in for a yearly physical in at least three years, this is a great chance to make sure you don’t have any underlying health concerns that will affect your fitness goals.
Getting healthy won’t happen overnight. But if you start with some small steps, like these, you can start your journey to a healthy year.