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Success breeds success

Success breeds success

Thursday 13th December 2018
Alex Pedley

You did it: you completed the London Marathon. You have just crossed the finish line, feeling exhausted but buzzing. As you ran the crowd were cheering your name, which was clearly emblazoned on your top; you spotted your friends and family in crowd cheering you on. What a day - what an achievement!

I understand that completing a marathon is not everyone's idea of fun. Just the thought of running 26.2 miles is enough to put most people off. It takes months of dedication leading up to it, cold days spent training through the winter, and then the actual race - no thank you!

I am using the marathon as an example to highlight the fact that this is how many people approach their health. They could start exercising and eating better, but they are busy with work; it's too hard to find the time. It's December, there's no point starting now - Christmas is coming so why not wait until the New Year?

You can always find a reason not to start but every day it will just become harder. This is why its important to start now.

If you are currently not exercising and worried about how hard it will be, then start by working out once a week, making it a very light session. At the same time you could get off a stop earlier on your journey into work before doing the same on your way home. Make a promise to do this just for one month, then at the beginning of the second month, add another weekly workout. At this point you may also decide to walk up the first two flights of stairs instead of taking the lift to and from work. Suddenly you are making some serious progress.

So if we go back to the example of wanting to run a marathon: if you currently are very deconditioned, you could start with attempting to complete just one mile. Start by running for 1 minute followed by a period of walking, repeating until you have completed a full mile. On the next attempt try to increase the time spent running; each new attempt increase your running time until you can complete one full mile without walking. Now that the first target of completing 1 mile is ticked off, celebrate your achievement, before attempting 2 miles. Continue increasing the distance until you are capable of completing 26 miles without stopping. It might take a few years, but it doesn't matter, you will feel good from the constant improvement and personal bests.

Whatever your dream, big or small, anything is achievable. You just have to start and aim for small wins along the way. Creating achievable landmarks is the best way to ensure continued progress. Success breads success, it is that simple. Each day you will get better and with each small accomplishment you will get a release of Dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical reaction released when we achieve something - it is also what makes cigarette, drugs, alcohol and smart phones so addictive. Dopamine feels good and you will want more. When you add the endorphin release that you get from exercising, you have an amazing concoction of feel good chemicals floating around your body, which makes for a very addictive combination.

So what are you waiting for? Start exercising today, you never know, you might just enjoy it.