Let’s wrap our heads around this thought; you don’t need a reason to exercise/workout other than because it makes you happy. That’s right the eternal pursuit of happiness cliché and, endurance training can certainly get you closer there. Training or exercising should be a voluntary act, an organic experience, don’t try to justify it and just do it! (not sponsored by N*** tho). It should make you happy because you’re doing something positive, very positive for you, for society and even for the environment. You do it because you want and your soul demands it. Forget about equipment, clichés and limitations just let yourself loose and be happy by moving. I’ve come up with the term ‘Organic Training‘ because I visualize it as the simplest form of exercising, non processed, no additives. Just a raw, deep desire to go out and express yourself through movement.
Before we get into some training ideas lets briefly review why working out may be good for ALL of us. It has been well documented on the many benefits of exercising, cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and a fit body amongst many others, but I want to focus on the mental benefits of exercising because I feel like the mind plays such a role in our lifes that sometimes we even need to be “tricked into” doing things, like for example, having an active lifestyle.
Exercise can help you with stress management, it has been said before, training or exercising is a great therapy. It increases de amount of a chemical substance called norepinephrine in our bodies, which basically controls our brain’s response to stress. Also, boost your self-esteem, throughout many studies exercise has shown to alleviate depression symptoms. Think about it as a natural anti-depressant. Go back to your last workout and even though it was hard, tell me, how did you feel afterwards? pretty awesome right!?. Another great benefit of exercising is that it could prevent cognitive decline, exercise helps maintain brain/cell mass volume and prevent degeneration. This means we will remain smart, intelligent and reasonable as we age. Not bad!
I find amazing that working out can boost creativity and productivity. I usually feel my best after workouts and that feeling leads me to doing something productive afterwards. This may be due to new brain cells being created (neurogenesis) and a protein called BDNF that could enhance brain performance. Additionally, these may boost memory, thinking skills, our ability to learn and other productivity skills. By being active we can also provide inspiration & motivation for ourselves and others. I embrace being a role model. As a matter of fact one of the best compliments I ever got was this girl who told me ”You inspired me!” allegedly I provided inspiration to her by performing at a good level but staying humble and grounded. Feels great and you can do this too! Inspire your husband, your child or your co-worker. The power is yours.
Additionally exercise is a great aid for anxiety control & relaxation. I usually look to exercising as an anesthesia. I like to get tired so I can sleep better, or at least that’s what I think. Then I found some evidence on it, studies claiming that exercising makes your body release chemicals that help calm down anxiety and reduce your sensitivity to anxiety symptoms. Results go even further and claim that exercise can even be prescribe to treat depression disorders. Finally, working out simply makes you Happy. Check my social network bios & I usually call myself an endorphins junkie. Through exercise the body liberates these chemicals called (endorphins) which are responsible for controlling feelings of happiness and euphoria. That happiness could also be link to pleasure. By working out, our brain releases another chemical named Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates movement and emotional responses. It relates common activities to feelings of pleasure and exercise is one of the main triggers. But it doesn’t stop there, this substance is commonly called the ‘reward chemical for pleasure’ because it can also make you take action to achieve that pleasure, it works as fuel. I’m hooked.
If you’re going to train organic, my gut leads me to think you should focus on consistency, variety & playfulness.
–Like I’ve said before Consistency is KEY/KING! Here on this context by being consistent I mean to try to do “something” everyday, forget about duration or intensity just get out the door and make your body sweat until you feel satisfied. You’ll know when you’re done. Even if it’s just for fun or for just 20 minutes, the fact of doing it consistently makes it significant. Routines are always good, human beings are more efficient and productive when they stick to a routine just make sure yours include exercising!
–Vary your activities. You’re training for fun and health so whatever makes you move, sweat and change cardiac frequency is good enough. Challenge yourself, seek new sports activities (safely) and only stop when it’s not fun anymore. You’re most likely to stick to something if you don’t get bored. Vary your routes, take your gear on vacation and exercise if you feel like it. I highly recommend this one, I did it on my trip to Cleveland and wow did I had a blast!? Do fun workouts, like fartleks (not timed) just changing rhythms whenever you feel like it, go as hard or as slow as you feel that day (moderate intensities generally produce the best results). If on a bike climb a hill and stop at the top and take 1,000 selfies, maybe rent a mountain bike and get lost on a trail (carefully) at the end of the day I guess the lesson is; focus on the process, not the result!
–Find a partner, be playful! I get a little bit too excited just by thinking about this statement. Its incredible what peer pressure can do for us on a positive side. Having a partner will make workouts more fun! Chatting, gossiping or challenging each other is great medicine. Especially when not performance oriented, group riding or running makes exercising very doable and almost addictive. I have to admit (with a little bit of shame) that I’ve been my fittest when I’ve found an “interesting” training partner. No missed workouts = fitness! The focus shifts and all of a sudden working out is a priority, plus you get to spend time with someone pleasuring, win–win situation. Of course you could also join a joggers club and that’ll be fun too.
-Focus on sucking in your environments. Enjoy the place where you are working out, be grateful that you’re outdoors and embrace the hyperventilating, the Vitamin D bath and the breeze that pampers your body & soul. These are thoughts I believe should always be on your mind when exercising, I’m not the positivist guy around but constantly reminding myself of these always lift me up. Think about it, it makes sense.
–Sink into your feelings. I’m learning to do this. It’s a roller coaster for me know. I remember the bad things and think how I’m liberating myself while training. I dug deep into my troubles and think of possible solutions. I also visualize the good days, days when I was happy and embrace the fact that just by getting to exercise as a way of expression, is a true blessing.
– Air out your vibes. If you feel like you need to cry or meditate, a lonely run or ride might be the perfect setting. I’ve done it, and at some point the anger and frustration exacerbates my pace and I start flying along, then, peace, silence. I’ve flushed out and feel better.
You don’t need a reason to exercise. Just go with the flow, don’t force anything & let the dopamine & endorphins define your journey.