Running, to date, is one of my favorite forms of exercise. Ok, you got me, def not my favorite, but very important for most athletes to include in their scheduled training.
The body releases endorphins that results in a euphoric sensation, known as runner's high. This is the most natural and oldest form of exercise. As children, this movement comes just as natural as it did to a caveman who was being chased by something much larger! It is used as a warm up or as part of a very intense professional training program, regardless of the sport.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Lao-tzu
Here are a few advantages to running:
1. Aides in weight loss:
If you're looking to drop unwanted pounds efficiently and effectively, then this is your solution. Weight loss is defined as burning more calories than you take in. Running is considered to be a rigorous form of exercise. It requires a great deal of energy from your body which translates to burning more calories. With a proper diet and added training routine several times a week, the pounds will shed off easily. To safely attain weight loss, you should set a goal to rid your body of 1-2 pounds per week. By creating a deficit of 500 calories a day (3500 calories=1 pound) you will achieve this goal. Most runners burn 500 calories in about 1 hour of running! To figure out roughly how many calories you are burning during a run, use this running calculator.
2. Improves cardiovascular health, bone health and coordination:
Since this movement is a form of cardio activity, it increases the rate at which your heart is required to pump blood to the rest of your body. It reduces blood pressure while the arteries maintain elasticity. Cardiovascular activity significantly lowers the chances of a heart attack and stroke. In addition, it slows down the aging process. If you are a runner, you are less likely to experience muscle and bone loss as you get older. Both are stimulated during running and remain strong as you age, preventing osteoporosis from occurring. Lastly, whether you are running on flat pavement, uneven terrain or trails, you will have a better sense of your coordination skills.
3. Psychological benefits:
Studies have found that running is a great stress re-leaser and an excellent outlet for freeing your body and mind of anxiety, frustration, or tension. I guarantee if you are having bad day and you go out for a run, you will come back feeling strong, accomplished, refreshed and stress-free. It has been used in therapy to treat depression and addictions. It can also be a great confidence booster if you start setting goals each time you run...remember every step brings you closer!
4. Running improves your energy levels:
When you're feeling sluggish or tired, running is a great way to increase your energy. People who run in the morning report they have improved energy levels during the day. Combining regular exercise along with a healthy diet will help improve your energy level even further.
5. Doesn't require a membership:
The only thing needed to run is a pair of sneakers! MAKE NO EXCUSES! Get off the couch, lace up those sneakers and head outdoors, take in the fresh air and enjoy the scenery! Buy a pair of quality sneakers that are made for your foot type and running style.
Land midfoot: Toe strikers and heel strikers are more prone to injury and do not run efficiently. (Learn how you can be running injury free.)
Practice good posture: Your body should lean slightly forward but your spine should be straight and your head should be up. Check out the book "Chi Running".
Relax your hands: Your hands should be around waist level and relaxed, making a fist is simply wasted energy.
Stay hydrated: Be aware of climate conditions and hydrate accordingly.
Don't bounce: Learn to run in a more controlled state, eliminating up and down movement.
Sign up for a local race: whether it's a 5k or a full marathon, committing to a goal will keep your training on track and consistent.
Invest in quality Running Gear!
10% is the amount of weekly mileage increase most runners should strive for in order to avoid injuries such as, stress fractures and other overuse injuries of the foot. According to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, stress fractures of the foot are becoming more common as runners are tackling longer distances and and engaging in heavier training.
* As always, please consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
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This weeks Fitness Tip provided by Amy Amato, Premier Spin Instructor NYC.