This post originally appeared on my previous blog, TheStarrList, on 1/12/13 and earned me an IGN Community Spotlight profile. Reblog comes courtesy of Ben Kuchera’s Four ways to become a happier gamer, and person, in 2015
1. Boost Your Brain Power
Generally, we are all fans of music. Whether it’s dance, metal, hardcore, or pop, we can usually identify something upbeat or driving in our iTunes Library. While upbeat music is great for getting pumped up, short of studying chord progressions and lyrical meaning, there is little payoff to listening to the same set of repetitive tracks on every jog. For some, music may actually be the reason they dread running. Next time you’re out, try a podcast!
Similar to talk radio, there are tons of free and unique podcasts in the iTunes store. From cooking tips to comedy, tech talks and TED Talks, there is something for everyone. Subscribe to a few podcasts and load up your iPod. Have a smartphone? Download a podcast app for your iOS or Android device!
If podcasts aren’t your thing, try an audiobook. I once heard a story of a runner who would listen to suspense novels while training. Only while training would he allow himself to listen to the books and, assuming they were any good, this tactic kept him from wanting to stop running. It also conditioned him to crave running. During races, he allowed himself to indulge in a playlist of upbeat music. This helped change the pace and created a fresh experience.
Understandably, podcasts and audiobooks are certainly not as upbeat as music. However, unless your are sprinting for a time, a good jog requires endurance over speed, and an informative podcast or suspenseful audiobook will certainly keep you at your paces.
2. Fresh Air
While treadmills are great during extreme weather or the night, nothing comes close to an outdoor jog. As simple as it sounds, a bit of fresh air can do wonders for the soul. After a long workday or at the tail end of being bedridden, busy city streets or a refreshing view of distant mountains can provide for a cleansing of the mind and clear thoughts. Stepping away from your belongings for 20-60 minutes can be enough to remind you of what is really important in life, provide a little inspiration for that project you’re working on, or help sift out those feelings of anguish toward a troublesome co-worker.
As you run, breathe in and take a look around. Get out into the world to remind yourself that the world is much larger than your immediate surroundings. If you are lucky enough to cross paths with another jogger, remember to pass along the motivation with a friendly wave, thumbs-up, or high-five. Tell yourself that those drivers on their commute home are looking at you in envy, wishing they had your drive. Your efforts will certainly inspire others.
3. Game On
When I began running, I was fairly overweight. Unbeknownst to me, my body did not behave the way it did in high-school. I was still expecting to be able to eat the same junk food and plop down in front of video games with no severe consequence to my body. I was sorely mistaken. I knew that I needed to do something to get back into shape. I had heard about Nike+ and decided to take a leap of faith. I invested $300+ (a lot to a college student) into running equipment, an iPod, and the Nike+ sensor. I began to play a new kind of video game.
We can all appreciate a good game. Most of us grew up playing board or video games because they provided competitive and, in most cases, friendly fun. For those that need a little extra push to head out on a jog, making a game of it can do the trick! Several companies are gamifying the workout experience and the Nike+ service is leading the way! Nike+ not only keeps records of run/walk history including miles run, calories burned, and average pace, it also includes cross-community challenges. See where you rank amongst your friends on the weekly leader-board, be the first to reach 100 miles in the office, or challenge your best friend to a calorie burn competition! As you run and compete, you will earn achievements and kind words from world-renowned athletes, pushing yourself to run a little farther next time or maybe try one extra jog per week. Gamifying the jogging experience is a great way to stay motivated and provide a new kind of gaming experience!
Nike+ is offered through GPS iOS and Android apps as well as a shoe sensor (and iPod dongle in needed) for specially designed Nike+ enabled shoes.
Everyone needs a little “me” time. Similar to tip 2, solitude can help provide clarity and peace-of-mind. Leaving you to your own thoughts can allow you to sort out those items that have been filling you with anxiety or allow you to solve that problem that’s been gnawing at you for the past several days. For some, solitude can assist in inspiration or a moment of clarity. The ability to completely escape the needs of others and detach oneself from the rest of society undoubtedly allows us to sort out what is really important and a stimulating jog only enhances the experience.
For those of you that have trouble carving out a chunk of your day to exercise because there is just simply “too much to do,” you likely crave productivity. The best part about jogging is that the four tips listed above can all be achieved on a single run.
Over the course of several years, I have realized that multitasking is my biggest motivation to run. As often as possible, I will set aside 1-2 hours to jog and blog. After turning on my Nike+ app, I quickly throw on a podcast. Be it John Gruber’s Apple-centric The Talk Show, obscure stories across America on This American Life, or staying up-to-date with the latest video game industry news with The Indoor Kids or IGN’s Game Scoop, these podcasts not only fill my interests but they provide me with ideas.
Throughout the course of a single outdoor jog, I am afforded the luxury of audible inspiration through podcasts and sightly inspiration through my environment. I am disconnected from social media, e-mail, and text messages and am able to focus on myself. If I am able to push myself a little farther and a little harder, I may beat the stats from my last run. By the end, I am usually able to churn out an idea or two for my blogs. Within 1-2 hours, I have satisfied my desire to be productive by gaming, thinking, mentally cleansing, and blogging… and exercise!