Exercise releases chemicals in your brain that help you stay happy. That’s why it’s so important to exercise shortly after waking up each day — it puts you in the right frame of mind to stay motivated and productive. It also helps adjust your internal clock to let you fall asleep when you’re supposed to fall asleep. But what kind of exercise should you be doing? Running is a good start!
One of the best ways to build a routine — and keep to it — is making a list of goals for yourself. What kind of goals, you ask? The kind that leave you with room to improve. Try running a little farther every other day, or a little faster, or for longer. Build your endurance, but don’t overdo it — you should be alternating workout regimens every other day at least. That means running one day and swimming or weight lifting the next. Your muscles need time to rest so they can build back up.
One of the greatest goals you can give yourself is working your way to signing up for a big race! First you’ll probably want to do a half-marathon. That means about thirteen miles of running. That’s the number of miles nearly anyone in ordinary health can do before their body starts reminding them that it’s time for a break. Those who aren’t fully prepared can experience pain, dehydration, stress or repetitive action injuries like tendinitis — even hallucinations if they push themselves too hard!
That’s why it’s important to start small and work your way toward the goal.
Once you’ve completed a half-marathon, you might be ready for the true test of fitness: a full marathon that measures about 26 miles. They aren’t easy, but those who complete the full race feel accomplished. Those who have already completed a marathon might decide to enter a race every year to keep themselves motivated to stay in shape. Or they might decide to run in even longer “ultra” marathons for an even bigger challenges.
There are other options as well. A trail marathon is one of them, and the competitions are exactly what they sound like. While normal marathons take place on pavement, trail marathons take place on local trails. You’ll be surrounded by the natural world as you race up and down mountains. Those who prefer the serene outdoor environments away from the hustle and bustle of big towns or cities might choose this option over any other.
No matter which option you choose, the point is this: stay in shape and you’ll have a better chance to stay happy too!