There are some exercises which can work out several parts of the body in one go and which benefit the overall body fitness, running is one of them. And the best thing about it is that it is free and anybody can do it.
Many people are turning to running as a fitness regime due to the flexibility involved and the overall benefits of running combined with the relatively low cost of it. To keep safe there are a few things to do before you start running.
- See your GP/doctor and get a checkup to determine if your body is in a suitable enough condition to run.
- Get outfitted with the correct running shoes.
- Before you start your run, warm up with some stretches, knee lifts or any other warm up exercise that will ease your body into running without injury.
- Build up your endurance by alternating between walking and running. After a couple of weeks you will see that you are running for longer periods before needing to slow down to a walking speed.
- Gradually increase your pace and the distance you cover so as to enjoy the maximum benefits of running.
Running Shoes: As mentioned earlier a good pair of running shoes is essential as you begin running. To be sure that your running shoes are in good shape, below are some things to watch out for.
- Running shoes get worn out pretty fast due to the stress placed on them. After every six months, or around 300 miles, ensure that you replace them with new ones even if visually they still look okay.
- When buying running shoes ensure that you buy the correct shoes by getting advice from retailers who specialize in this area.
Running Clothes: Comfortable clothing is also important. A t-shirt, shorts, sweat pants, tights and for women a sports bra is a good investment.
Water Bottle: It is vital that you keep your body well hydrated with a constant supply of water.
IDEAL RUNNING TECHNIQUE
To achieve the maximum benefits of running it is important to know and to adopt the proper running techniques. Other advantages of learning proper running techniques are that you run faster and you also avoid injuring yourself. Highlighted below are some of these techniques.
- Bend your knees when you run to avoid stiffness in the leg and to protect your knees. Running with straight unbending legs can cause muscle pulls and torn muscles when you have to stop suddenly.
- Keep your elbows at an angle of 90 degrees. As you run and you begin to tire your elbows fold and come closer to the body. This is a bad technique of running and when you notice it return your elbows to a ninety degree angle.
- Run whilst your spine is reasonably straight. Avoid slumping forward as you run as this can cause long term harm to your spine.
- Take short quick strides as opposed to long slower strides. The short strides use less energy and also they keep you from landing with your foot in front of you rather than under you. Aim for short strides.
- Your upper body and your lower body should be doing the same amount of work as you run. The movement of your legs and the movement of your hands should be almost the same. Running whilst your hands are moving also assists in a full body workout.
BENEFITS OF RUNNING
- Running strengthens your joints by flushing out toxins and boosting your cartilage. This goes a long way in protecting you from osteoporosis which is a decrease in bone density.
- If you are obese, running is a great way to lose the weight. Start by brisk walking and slowly increase your pace and distance and you will see the weight begin to fall off.
- As you run the body releases feel good chemicals known as endorphins. Running has been used as a treatment for depression and anxiety. Run and keep those negative feelings at bay.
- Running prevents diseases. For example it prevents or reduces your chances of getting a heart attack by strengthening your arteries and also keeping your heart strong.
- By improving your immunity, running improves your general health and well being. Running boosts your HDL cholesterol-which is good cholesterol.
NUTRITION AND RUNNING
Running goes hand in hand with good nutrition. To enjoy the benefits of running you must incorporate a healthy diet in your lifestyle. Contrary to popular opinion running does not in fact increase your appetite, it actually diminishes it so it’s important to eat food which is beneficial to your body.
To incorporate good nutrition in your running here a few tips:
- Complex Carbohydrates are very important for runners as they provide slow burning energy to the body for longer periods of time. Examples of these types of carbohydrates include whole rice, whole grains, whole bread, vegetables, pasta and potatoes.
- When you run the body requires a lot of proteins to repair the muscles and keep the strength of the muscles up. Proteins are the building blocks of your muscles.
- All the processes that occur in your body as you run require water. A runner needs to sweat and sweat is water. All the wastes that are eliminated in your body need to be flushed out using water. Drink water before you run, as you run and after you finish your run.
- Avoid artificial sugars as all they do is give you a quick burst of energy and soon after your energy levels become quickly depleted and you’re back where you were. They also harm your gut because it is unable to process them. If you already suffer from gut issues consume drinks or foods which contain probiotics.
- Fats like Omega three oils from sardine, salmon, mackerel and other healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, flax seeds are all important sources of energy for a runner. They help in fastening your body metabolism and keeping your heart healthy. More than that these fats are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. They prevent joint pain and they are natural pain killers.