PT 360° April 2019

R unning : A L ove S tory U se C ues to C reate a R unning H abit

Since the ‘70s, devotees have referred to the elusive rush of euphoria they feel during and right after a run as a “runner’s high.”Your friend who claims to “love” running despite how exhausted she looks at the finish line of her 10K might be experiencing the effects of this phenomenon. This post-workout boost has long been linked to a rush of endorphins entering the brain, but a recent study from researchers in Germany suggests that a more likely cause is an increased production of serotonin and other feel- good neurotransmitters. Because of these physiological effects, running may help to improve your body’s ability to stand up to stress while also making you feel good. For seasoned runners, that sweet call of serotonin might be enough to lace up their sneakers week after week, but the rest of us might need a little more convincing. Research into the psychology of habit formation, which has allowed companies like Procter & Gamble to make millions, has

found that habits are often linked to a specific cue. Calling on the insight of psychologists, marketing campaigns have used this tactic to sell products like Febreze, and you can use some of the same techniques to adopt a running habit.

Most cues fall into one of four categories: temporal (linked to a specific location or time of day), action-based (one of a series of actions), emotional (linked to a mood or emotion), or social (linked to a particular group of people). So if you want to create a running habit, develop prompts that will cue you to engage in it. For example, you can use temporal cues to make a habit of running every day after work, or you can make it a necessary step in your routine: Wake up, brush teeth, coffee, run, shower. Documenting how you feel after a run will help your mind link the good feelings

it gives you to the action, which will then cue the habit. Next time your drinking buddies suggest happy hour, suggest a run instead. Maybe they’ll even pick up the habit.

Go on now. Let running sweep you off your feet!

I s I t O kay to S kip B reakfast ? T he T ruth A bout the F irst M eal of the D ay

Sometimes you skip breakfast simply because you don’t have time to eat. Other times, you skip breakfast because nothing really appeals to you. This is a common occurrence for many people across the country. But when you skip breakfast, you may find that you feel just fine. It begs the question: Is breakfast really that important? Do you need to eat breakfast?

“most important meal of the day.”This phrase was used to market breakfast cereal in the last century. In reality, it doesn’t mean anything. The most important meal of the day is whichever meal you get the most out of, whether it’s nutritional value, enjoyment, or both. Having a healthy, protein-rich breakfast does come with benefits, though. It gives you energy for the day and helps you avoid scrambling to find something to eat a couple hours later when hunger sets in. All too often, skipping breakfast (or having a carb-heavy breakfast) leads people to raid the vending machine or make unhealthy food choices they wouldn’t ordinarily make. Along these same lines, skipping breakfast may encourage you to eat more later in the day at lunch or dinner. You may think you’re saving calories, but over the course of a day, you can end up consuming more calories than if you had simply eaten breakfast. With so much research on the subject of breakfast, one thing is clear: You should eat when you feel hungry. You don’t have to live by the conventional wisdom of “three squares a day.”When you listen to your body, you’ll feel better for it!

It depends. Most people can skip breakfast and be totally fine. They’ll make it to lunch without skipping a beat. It all comes down to

how you feel. Some people need breakfast or they’ll have to deal with mood swings —often referred to as being“hangry” — caused by low blood

sugar. A healthy breakfast can stabilize your mood, helping you feel more positive, energized, and focused throughout the morning.

We can, however, bust the notion that breakfast is the

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