It’s so important to move your body as much as possible, especially if you are an information economy worker.

If you agree, I want to give you some inspiration!

I run because I’m lazy. Yes, you read that right. Running is the laziest exercise I can do. I only need sneakers and shorts. I can do it from my house and finish at my house, I don’t need a gym membership or fancy equipment or pretty much anything else.

It also just so happens that running gives the biggest bang for the least amount of time! Busy professionals, ya hear me? Read on.

Getting into running is like building an addiction. You want to get addicted. Sort of like cigarettes, only much healthier.

You’re gonna hate it at first, but eventually you’ll get to a point where your week is not complete unless you’ve run. You’ll turn to running to help you deal with your problems. You’ll run when you’re happy, sad, frustrated or lonely. You’ll run when you need to think something out.

You won’t want to go three days in a row without getting your heart pumping, and if you do, it’ll build up so that when you do go at it again, it’s with a vengeance.

If you run, you are a runner. Even if you run really, really slowly like I do, it doesn’t matter. Once you cross into this world, you’re in it. So yay for you for reading and welcome to this world of crazy runners!

How do you get started?

Sometimes, you need motivation beyond the benefits itself. For example, when I took up running, the point was to get outside, get a tan AND to get healthy. Soon, running became satisfying in itself, but it wasn’t at first.

Other external motivators are coffee and upbeat music.

Here’s what you can do today:

Put some sneakers on and drink some water. Say to yourself, “I’m going to run until I don’t feel like doing it any more.”

If you’re really new to exercising, I predict you’ll go about three to five minutes. Then just STOP. Praise yourself PROFUSELY. Seriously! Getting your sneaks on and out the door is 80% of the battle. And then force yourself to walk outside for the remaining 20 minutes or so. Listen to your headphones. Enjoy the fact that you are MOVING and God gave you these limbs and you are using them.

The first time I ran, I only got to the edge of the parking lot of my graduate school dorm before my head and chest were screaming at me to stop. A few days later, I could run a couple of blocks. I’d fill the rest of the time walking on campus and enjoying the view of the water and downtown Chicago. Within three months, I could run three miles without stopping.

While you’re walking, do arm circles, big forward, big backward, little forward, little backward, lots of arm circles until you feel like you can barely keep your arms up. Trust me, your arms will ache the next day. You’ll feel soooooo good about yourself!

And don’t you dare beat yourself up that you aren’t trying hard enough, not doing enough. That’s bullshit. If you got outside, you get to feel like a rock star. End of story.

Keep in mind:

Here are some other things to think about when you’re running. You may know all of this but it helps to be reminded:

1. The music coming out of your headphones should be inspirational. Sing along in your head. Sing along out loud. If you accomplished nothing else today at work or at home, you’ll have gotten a run in.

2. Think about how your heart and lungs and legs are all working in harmony. The body is so cool! You are alive!

3. Running makes you smarter! It really does stimulate your brain cells and has been proven to make your thinking more acute.

4. As your muscles grow, they will burn more calories even at rest. In other words, if someone who is in shape sits next to someone who is not in shape, the in-shape person will burn more calories per hour than the not-in-shaper. Your muscles will just need more fuel to exist.

5. It strengthens your heart. With every pump while running, you are pushing cholesterol out of your arteries.

6. Your resting heart rate will slow down immensely. Your heart will be need less beats per minute to accomplish the same tasks. IE: Two PUMP PUMPs will do the same as four pumppumppumppumps.

7. When we were kids, it took all of our motivation to not run. Did you ever go to an amusement park and face the agony of having to walk slowly to the ticket counter and stand there waiting, when all you wanted to do was blast yourself over to the rides as fast as your little stumps could go? Did a lifeguard ever blare his whistle at you to “Walk! Don’t RUN!” Summon that part of you now. That energy is still there.

8. Running is good for your physical and mental health. Sure, you’ll shed some pounds and become a bit leaner, but even better will be how much healthier your body will be.

After running:

1. Don’t forget to stretch for a few minutes.

2. Baby that body that worked so hard. While exercising, you were a tough superwoman or man. Now it’s time to nurture. Wash with some sweet smelling body scrub and rub in lotion on your legs. (That one’s for the ladies. Men can, uh, drink a beer?)

3. Drink a whole glass of water. Force yourself to, even if you didn’t sweat. Your cells need it.

4. Take a multivitamin and then another glass of water. Just to keep that whole body-love thing going on.

5. Write “exercise / jog” in your day planner. Check it off.  Satisfying, wasn’t it? My goodness, you are so Type A.

Keep reading, or get started:

This web site has been online since 2004, when I took up running. I would read it every time I ran, even if I only lasted 10 minutes!

I’m a big fan of John Bingham, a couch potato-turned slow runner at age 43.

Keep at it.

Write me and let me know how it goes. andrea (dot) james (at) gmail (dot) com.