Motivation to run is part of your biological makeup

Whether you’re an avid runner or not, we all lose motivation to get up and go for a run from time to time. Although running is the most popular form of physical activity and exercise, anthropologists from the University of Arizona discovered through their animal versus human running experiment that the motivation to run is automatically built in us as an evolutionary form of survival to flee from danger.

Both humans and dogs are historically known to run. They both showed increased levels of chemical endorphins after training to run for a duration of 30 minutes, but not an increased level during their duration of walking. Not only did this tell researchers that humans are biologically made to enjoy running, but it proves the existence of the runner’s high as well.   A runner’s high is created by an increased level of endorphins and can alter one’s mood and euphoria.

Although our bodies are made to enjoy running, we still tend to find ways to avoid doing it. When biological factors aren’t enough to get you to lace up your running shoes, Podiatrist Harvey Danciger suggests these tips to keep you motivated to stay active.

  • Run with friends. The social aspect of running is one of the main reasons people start and stick with running habits. Find a local running club or ask some friends or co-workers to join you in a running routine.
  • Write it down. Keeping a training log or running blog about your running progress, details and how you felt after each run to help keep you motivated. Looking back at previous entries can remind you of how far you’ve come and give you incentive to get out there again to improve.
  • Reward yourself. Every once and awhile, treat yourself for your hard work with new running gear or a massage. This will keep you energized and reinforce your commitment to your training.
  • Don’t think “all or nothing.” If you don’t have time to complete an entire workout, don’t give up on doing one altogether. Instead, go for a quick run or use that time to focus on a different type of exercise. This way you won’t feel guilty for skipping an entire workout.
  • Remember the health benefits. Remind yourself of the health improvements you’re making by checking your weight, getting your blood pressure tested and thinking about how you have a healthy way to relieve stress and the increased energy you have.

What motivation tips do you use to stay running? Please share by commenting below!

Dr. Harvey Danciger
Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle
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