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Run For Your (Best) Life With Heart Rate Training

Written by Eric Harr - for PolarUSA

The National Institutes of Health recently reported that obesity has surpassed lung disease to become the #1 lethal ailment in America.

This is frightening. Here we are in the year 2003 with exciting new health breakthroughs and soaring technology. We're more awash in "diet books" than ever, we spend more money on our fitness and weight loss than ever yet a record 300,000 Americans die every year from being overweight. Something just aint right!

The problem is that now more than ever, you want the "quick fix" fitness solution and you’ll pay dearly for it: The Ab Blaster, The Melt Fat Away Pill, The Aerobic Conditioning Electoshocker. You and I both know that smart exercise and balanced eating have been, and always will be the fastest, healthiest, cheapest and most enduring solutions to fitness and weight loss. But you wouldnt know that from the sea of "diet" books, pills, potions and contraptions out there today. How can we reach our fitness goals if were constantly looking outside to reach your fitness goals?

Relying on yourself to achieve your fitness goals is the only surefire path to long-term success. I believe you don’t have to spend one penny to reach their fitness goals. Exercise should be about letting go, stepping out of the box and "into" the world, getting sunshine on your face, having fun. It should be easy, in the moment, efficient and playful. None of this costs money and all of it will lead to extraordinary fitness results.

I believe in you. I believe you know your body better than anyone else. I believe that if you stick to a few basic fitness and nutrition rules, and you trust and listen to your body, you will become the world's leading fitness authority ... on yourself.

So where do we begin? With a nice, easy run.

Training for and finishing an organized athletic event - such as a 5k run - for a charity that is important to you, can lead you inexorably, step by step, to your best life. It will raise your standards, build your confidence, bond you with your "training buddies," balance your eating and appetite, provide a tangible goal, and by the way, melt off all the weight in the world - without your even knowing it!

I am first-hand evidence of how life-altering training for an athletic event can be. In 1994, I was an overweight legal clerk working in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The extent of my exercise was walking to and from the local mango stand for lunch. After hearing about a "triathlon" being held on the island, I decided to go for it - for no other reason than to get back into shape. I had no background in running or cycling, but I knew I was headed down the wrong path of health. It took courage, a leap of blind faith, to register for that race. But taking that one simple step set hundreds of other steps in motion - all of which led to living my very best life. And now I use my experiences from racing around the world to help people use athletic participation to live their best (fitness) lives. And it works every time. Every time.

A few years ago, I ran with the Tendai Marathon Monks of Japan. The Tendai run a marathon a day every day for 100 days as their path to spiritual enlightenment, as a means to live their "best life." The Tendai are intrinsically motivated to run. They run because of what it does for them, not how it makes them look. That is the secret to staying motivated to exercise and ultimately reaching your best self. Its got to be for different reasons than simply looking good. Marcel Proust said: "the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes."

Here in America, exercise has become less about self-actualization and more about counting calories. This type of exercise disconnects our body, mind and spirit. How can we live our best lives if our workouts are one-dimensional, overhanging chores in our lives? Exercise is meant to enrich our minds and spirit just as it does our bodies. We must redefine our relationship with our bodies and our exercise by focusing it around camaraderie and personal growth, and most of all ... fun! We must assign a higher calling to our fitness. Until you do, it will always be a struggle to stay in shape. The best way to assign that "higher calling" is to build a mini-community of two or more friends, commit to running the same event and exercise together towards that goal.

Training for an organized athletic event will help you see every workout, every experience and challenge as an opportunity to grow and discover your best self. Its effects can last a lifetime and will affect every area of your life.

I’m betting that if just 30% of the people who read my columns across the U.S. trained for and completed a 5k run event each year that the obesity problem in this country could be cut by 10%. Live your best life - and be part of the collective solution - by training to participate in a local running event that benefits a charity important to you.

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