We all know how important exercise is. Touted as one of the most comprehensive workouts, the benefits of running go far beyond the physical. Running has been shown to prolong life and significantly impact cardiovascular health. It’s also credited with reducing stress and improving your overall mood.
But running takes time, and sometimes it feels like that’s the one thing we don’t have. It’s not uncommon for men and women to let their running routine fall by the wayside when life gets a little busy. In fact, exercise is often the first thing to go.
But it doesn’t have to.
The truth is, you probably do have time to run. You just need to rearrange your to-do list a bit. By combining your running time with other tasks or even recreation, you’ll accomplish twice as much. And studies show that multi-tasking during exercise may even enhance your workout. So don’t put your running shoes back on the shelf just yet.
Learn Something New
A long run is a perfect time to expand your mind by learning something new. Podcasts are probably the easiest way to do this. First of all, there are thousands of podcasts out there; finding one that suits your interests shouldn’t be difficult.
You might not have time to take a class on a particular subject, but combining your running time with a podcast is an excellent way to learn about something that has piqued your interest.
So download a podcast about that subject to listen to while your feet pound the pavement. If you don’t know where to start, consider downloading the podcast everyone is talking about. Catching up popular culture is probably not something you’d usually make time for, but on a run, you can enjoy it guilt-free.
Mindfulness is all the rage right now, and for good reason. The benefits across every area of life are well documented. But meditating for even ten minutes feels like ten minutes too long when you have a to-do list a mile long.
Some experts say that running in and of itself is a meditative practice. Others say running is the perfect time to practice mindfulness, engaging in focused meditation. Apps such as Headspace have designed meditations specifically for athletes and exercise.
When the pace of the day is just too much, your running time might be the perfect moment to decompress and get grounded in the moment. When else are you going to take a beat for your mental and emotional health?
Catch Up On Your Reading
Usually, in college, even the most devoted readers start to feel like they just don’t have time to read for fun anymore. Thankfully, audiobooks arrived on the scene, perfect for long car commutes, or coincidentally, long runs.
You can even check out audiobooks at the library. But if you’re someone who doesn’t want to wait for the latest bestseller to become available, there are numerous subscription services you can join. Then you can download purchased audiobooks directly to your smartphone.
Incorporating “reading” into your running time is a great way to allow yourself some down time that doesn’t take away from your other numerous responsibilities.
Brainstorm Solutions for Problems at Home and School
Sometimes life is complicated, and it feels as if there aren’t enough hours in the day to solve all the problems coming your way. That doesn’t mean you don’t have time to run. In fact, you may find that you do your best problem solving while running.
Take advantage of the many voice-capturing apps out there and record your thoughts. You just might be surprised by the clarity of your solutions.
Listen to Messages or Make To-Do Lists
If you’re feeling slammed at work and you know you have lists to make, consider downloading Remember the Milk, a well-known, proven task managing app. It works well with Siri or Alexa and can sync to all your devices, and even email accounts. You can also make lists for other people (think honey-do), and it will send them a reminder in whatever format you choose.
Listening to voicemails is another task you can easily accomplish while on the run. If you’re afraid you’ll forget important details, check out a text transcription app that will automatically transcribe your voicemails and keep them in a file on your phone or in your email. There are many great apps, but most of them charge a small monthly fee. Google Voice, however, is absolutely free.
A Word of Warning
Multi-tasking while taking a run is a great way to keep exercising even when life is busy. But we can’t promote multi-tasking without mentioning how important it is to pay attention to your surroundings.
Distracted running is a phenomenon that some cities have even considered legislating against; it’s such a problem. If you can’t run, listen to an audiobook and stay conscious of traffic patterns and other pedestrians, you probably shouldn’t listen to the audiobook.
Stay safe by paying attention, and you’ll be okay.
It’s too easy to let the frantic pace of life dictate how much exercise we get. But thanks to technology, we don’t have to give up running to get things done. In fact, we can even enjoy a little recreation while running, thanks to podcasts and audiobooks.
Take advantage of the time you spend running by increasing your knowledge, staying mindful or even making those to-do lists. More than likely you’ll find that you’ve not only improved the quality of your workout, but of your life. That’s the real runner’s high.
How about you? What apps make your run a multi-tasking victory? Let us know in the comments if you have any other tips or ideas for making your daily run a success!