Friday, April 17th at 10 a.m.
Running may not be as trendy as Pilates or power yoga, but it’s still a great way to burn calories, get an aerobic workout and reduce stress. Running helps increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol; helps with weight loss; builds strong bones; improves balance and coordination; lowers your risk for heart disease and diabetes; and helps improve sleep.
Nearly anyone can start running at any age and many make it a lifetime habit. Most people can east into a running program on their own. If you’re a smoker, though, or have a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or problems with your hips, leg or feet, it’s wise to check with your health care provider first. Getting your doctor’s approval is also a good idea if you are over 40 and haven’t exercised in a while; and if you are obese, it might be a good idea to start with a less demanding type of exercise, like walking or swimming, first.
If you’re ready to give running a try, you’ll want to get a good pair of athletic shoes to help you cover ground comfortably and to avoid injury. Shoes don’t have to be expensive, but they should have a flexible sole, solid hell support and good shock absorption. (Replace your shoes every 300 to 500 miles – just like tires on your car, shoes will wear out.)
Start slowly. Try not to push your body too hard. Be patient and remember that it may take a while to get in shape. Everyone is different and your progress will depend upon your own fitness level and energy. Warm up before you run by stretching and then walking for a short period first. If you are a beginning runner, try walking and gradually add some jogging to your routine. If you can comfortably talk while running, you are running at a good beginner’s pace.
Choose a safe running area, preferably flat, soft ground instead of concrete. Even with slow, easy exercise, it is normal to have some small aches and pains at first. These will quite down as your muscles get stronger. To help prevent injuries, though, avoid running too far or too fast too soon.
The most common running injuries affect the knees and feet, and result from overusing muscles. So pace yourself. Listen to your body. If running results in pain or discomfort, try changing your running habits or stop and rest for a few days. See your health care provider if the pain lasts.
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