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Runner’s Prayer

National Fitness Day is celebrated in the United States on the first Saturday of May. That’s tomorrow, so you have one day to plan how you are going to celebrate.

Being active and involved in some sort of fitness program can not only change your life, it can extend your life and in some cases save it.

Did you realize that:

Your strongest muscle is your HEART! Just like any other muscle in your body, it needs to be exercised.

The average person will walk about 70,000 miles in their lifetime. I’ll bet Fitbit is glad to hear this.

Our bodies burn an extra 50 calories per day for every pound of muscle gained.

No matter what your age or size, exercise is beneficial. It’s always going to be good for you.

People who exercise for an hour a day, 7 days a week are 40% less likely to die early.  I don’t do 7 days a week, but I normally do 5. If, for whatever reason, I go for more than 3 days in a row without doing something, any kind of exercise, I morph into Snarky Girl. Not a good thing.

Exercising regularly can help you sleep better.

A brisk walk burns almost as many calories as jogging the same distance! Hip-hip-hooray!

It takes about 6-8 weeks for your body to adjust to a new exercise program. Unfortunately most people give up too soon. Patience wins the medal when it comes to fitness.

Weight training increases the number of calories you burn while resting.

Only 10% of all people lose weight by dieting alone.

Okay, so being actively doing some sort of fitness program is a no -brainer.  But, what if you are already into some sort of exercise regimen. How can you keep motivated, and what can you do to celebrate Fitness Day?

Frankly, for me, running can get monotonous if you do the same path every day.  And staring at a screen while on a treadmill at the gym can get old. So, here’s a few ideas to keep you going:

Music Moves the Soul…and Your Feet

For me, running or exercising without music is like having a root canal without deadening. I’ve put in a lot of miles on a treadmill, and I know everyone around me knows when one of my favorite songs comes up on my playlist. In true Wimpy Girl style, I listen to a lot of Disney and show tunes. Capt’n Clean never works out next to me at the gym.

Variety Spices up Everything

For trail running, this is easy. If you get bored with one path, simply find another one. One clever app that I found for trail runners (and brisk walkers) is Zombie Run. There are all different levels, but basically, you (Runner  5) are one of the few survivors of a zombie epidemic and the app talks you through each of your runs as if you have been assigned tasks to help the human race survive. It’s great interval training because you have to speed up when a zombie starts chasing you. Sound effects are great!

If you are into a regular gym routine that is getting old, try a fitness class, or different kinds of cardio or weights. Get a trainer to help suggest different kinds of things you can do. Remember when you are bored with your exercise plan, your brain is going to come up with a plethora of excuses NOT to exercise. “New” is a good way to keep your  body moving.

Try…gulp…A Race

For me, during my lifetime, the scariest thing I’ve ever done was running my first 5k race. Okay, maybe not the scariest, but it was in the top 5.

If you can get past the “I’m old, I’m fat, I’m not athletic, I run like a dork, my stomach hurts” part, you might fall in love with it, like I did.

Most race runners are a little quirky, and fun people to hang with. They are encouragers. When you go across the finish line, they are there to applaud and whoop it up for you, even if they lapped you during the race.

If you are over 55 years old, for most medium-sized races (200-500 runners) your odds of winning a medal are pretty good. If you are over 65, your chances are even better. And, if you are in your 70s, placing in your age group is a given.

Heck, in one race, I was beat by an 86 year old woman. In another race, I got confused at the end, ran around all the vendor tents and ended up crossing the finish line from the opposite way! I ran another race benefitting brain cancer and there were folks who had had tumors removed from their brains that beat me. In fact, some of them could have probably carried me across the finish line, and I’m a big girl.

I’ve never been dead last in a race, and chances are, if you’ve been doing some sort exercise, you won’t either.

But you know what? Even if you are the very last one to mosey across the finish line, you are a winner because you have accomplished an incredible feat in loving your body enough to take care of it through exercise.

So, how are celebrating National Fitness Day tomorrow?

Get up and get moving Wimpy Girl!

Happy National Fitness Day!

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This work by Anel “Pookie” Ryan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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