Running Rings Around Unfitness
So, you have decided you want to get more exercise and whip your body into some shape other than round? If you are aiming to lose weight and get fit, there are few exercises better for you than running.
It is an excellent exercise because it works almost every part of your body. It’s great for mental acuity and physical health. In fact, if you want to learn more about the health benefits of running, just check out our useful infographic.
Running can be started anytime, anywhere, and with very little specialized equipment. If the idea of confronting a bunch of super fit gym bunnies is off-putting, running is the perfect solution – you can run around your backyard, down the road, or at a local park. You never have to see the inside of a gym unless you want to.
What Equipment Do You Need?
To start off with, it is a good idea to invest in some decent quality sports gear. Start with your shoes. Look out for online discounts on websites such as The Walking Company, and you will be able to pick up a pair of shoes that will make running a much more comfortable experience – at a pretty fair price.
Be sure to look out for shoes that are specifically designed for running. These feature better arch support and can better absorb the shock that running places on the feet. A good pair of shoes will last for more than six hundred kilometers, so it is worth making the investment.
The next thing to look at is the clothes you will wear. Again, it is worth spending a little more to improve comfort and performance. Modern sportswear consists of synthetic fabrics that are designed to draw moisture away from the skin and still allow the air to circulate.
This leaves you feeling cooler and drier, and also reduces the chances of chafing.
If you are a lady, you will also need to look at getting a good sports bra. Running can be pretty hard on the girls, so you need to look for an option that gives as much support as possible.
Do I Need Gadgets?
For some of us, the gadgets are half the fun of trying out a new sport. If you fall into this category, you can go crazy with apps for your phone, pedometers, heart rate monitors, smart watches, etc.
But you do not have to have any of these gadgets. So, if they won’t work with your budget, then don’t worry about it. That said, you can get a basic heart rate monitor/pedometer reasonably inexpensively.
It is said that we should all aim to take 10 thousand steps a day in order to stay relatively fit and healthy. A pedometer is an excellent way to see how close you are to achieving that goal.
If your goal is to burn as much fat as possible, you need to work out at no more than 80% of your maximum heart rate. This is where the heart rate monitor could come in handy.
But you can also gauge how effective your workout is by taking note of your breathing. You do want to increase your heart rate so that you do feel the effort, but not so much that you are not able to talk to someone at the same time.
Your Training Program
So, how far do you run on your first day? That is something of a trick question. If you are fairly unfit or have been leading a fairly sedentary life, you are going to start off by walking instead of running.
This may seem disappointing, but it is better to start off more slowly and be able to keep up the effort. By rushing things too fast, you increase the chances of injuring yourself. You also make the experience a lot more unpleasant than it needs to be and so are more likely to give up.
It is a lot better to rather start off slowly. Try walking at first. Walk for three minutes and then jog for thirty seconds. Start with sessions no longer than 20 to 30 minutes. As you start to get fitter, you can start to increase the time spent jogging to a minute.
Then start to increase the speed, instead of jogging, sprint for a minute and walk for two. When this starts to become easy for you, replace the walking with jogging, ie. sprint for a minute and then jog for two minutes.
Over time, you can also increase the amount of time you spend on the road as well.
Dealing With Stiffness
If you have not exercised in quite some time, you are bound to feel stiff and sore when you start up again. This is as a result of the build-up of lactic acid in the bloodstream. Stretching for about two minutes before and after your run can help to reduce the build-up of lactic acid.
You can also help speed it away from the muscles through massaging the area with firm strokes. Each stroke should be made in the direction of the heart. This will stimulate the lymphatic system, and this helps to get rid of lactic acid faster.
You could also try soaking in a hot bath. An Epsom salt bath is a great remedy for muscle soreness, especially if you add a few drops of essential oils to the water before climbing in. Please note, however, that this is not a good idea if you suffer from high blood pressure or epileptic seizures.
If in doubt, speak to your doctor before trying the Epsom salt bath.
You will get the best results if you run consistently. Set yourself a target and run every day or every other day. Give yourself at least one day off every seven days to allow your body to recover, though.
Stay motivated by letting others know about the goals you have set yourself and then being accountable to them for achieving the goals. If possible, get someone to run with you so that you can keep each other motivated in the long term.
Running is an excellent way to achieve maximum fitness in the minimum amount of time – why not try it for yourself today?