Running is a great exercise for the mind and body. It is a great way to improve fitness and give your mood a boost. I personally enjoy my time out running because I can always feel my mind being unclogged and liberated from everything going on around me. It improves the health of the heart, it reduces the risk of many illnesses including stroke, heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Running is especially good for weight management or weight loss. Let's assume you burn 300 calories from a 30 minutes running session, if you run at least 5 times in a week, that's an easy 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week (which comes highly recommended by the American Heart Association). That sounds like a lot of benefits from just running a few miles early in the morning.
As simple as running can be, as beneficial it is to the body and mind, especially for weight loss, there is a correct way of doing it (that means there are also wrong ways of doing it, wow). The purpose of this article however is to help you understand some important thing you need to know and do for you to do it right.
1. GET THE RIGHT PAIR OF SHOES
If you intend to take up running as a serious exercise for your weight loss, the first thing you should do is to get the right pair of shoes for running. You shouldn't just do it in your regular loafers or walking shoes. running requires special shoes, these shoes were made to ensure your safety while running. They help to cushion your body against the shock of the pounding motion when your feet hit the ground. Running with the right pair of shoes will make you comfortable and can make you go further than you would in less comfortable shoes.
2. GET A NEW PAIR OF SHOES EVERY 300-400 MILES
Once you have gotten the right pair of shoes for your run, you need to check them for wear and tear regularly. It is recommended (by the American Council on Exercise) that you replace your running shoes when you reach the 300-400 miles' milestone. This milestone can be reached in as early as 3 months and as late as 5 months depending on the number of miles you run weekly (20 miles or more). If you're on the heavier side, you should replace them every 300 miles to ensure your safety and comfort when you're running. Remember, they may still look good but that doesn't mean they have not worn down on the inside.
3. WARM UP BEFORE YOU RUN
Warming up before you run is good for your body, it helps to reduce the chances of you getting injured during your run. You can start out with a slow jog and then some stretching exercise that work your leg muscles, buttocks and your back (since you'll use them during your run). Getting a good warm up before the run will help you to stay energized and make your muscles more pliable due to the boost in your body temperature and blood circulation.
4. GET INTO THE RIGHT RUNNING POSTURE
There is a correct way to run and getting it right will boost the benefits your body will get from engaging in it. It is important that you look ahead while you run, leaning your body forward a little, this will improve your body balance and ensure that your weight is on the midsection of your foot rather than the front or heels. If you hear heavy thuds when you run, it means your weight is on the wrong part of your foot. Your arms should be relaxed, bent at a 90-degree angle, this will give your body a push forward when you run. Ensure that you maintain regular rhythmic and deep breaths when you run, this will ensure that you don't run out of breath and get tired easily. These tips should be kept in mind to get the correct running posture.
5. COOL DOWN AND STRETCH AFTER THE RUN
Reaching your goal distance can be exciting and fulfilling but ensure that you don't skip the next stage of your exercise which is just as important as the run. Make sure that you do some cool-down stretches after your run. It is important that you stretch out your thighs, hamstring, calf, buttock, lower back and hip muscles properly, hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds.
6. DO OTHER EXERCISES ON DAYS YOU DON'T RUN
Remember to train your body with exercises that boost your endurance, stamina and strength. These other exercise routines will improve your running capacity and build up your overall fitness. Incorporate sessions of muscle strengthening workouts into your exercise schedule on days you don't run.
7. EAT HEALTHY FOODS
It is important to also eat healthy food before and after you run. What you eat is equally as important as your running exercise. The aim is that you eat healthy food that can meet your strength and energy requirements without weighing you down every day. Before you run, eat foods that are easy to digest, it is also recommended that you include a little protein in such foods, this will keep you feeling full and help to repair your muscles after you run.
8. STAY HYDRATED
You lose a lot of water in form of sweat when you run, so you need to drink enough water to compensate for the water loss and stay hydrated. The adequate amount of water to drink varies from person to person, but the universal standard is 2.7 to 3.7 liters daily. However, the amount of water you should drink daily depends majorly on your activity levels, lifestyle, body type, weight and other factors. Take a sip of water regularly throughout the day and drink up when you're thirsty. You can also take some juice and smoothies to diversify.
9. DON'T OVERTRAIN AND GET YOURSELF INJURED
It is very IMPORTANT that you don't push yourself to run too much too soon. According to some studies, approximately 65 percent of runners have an injury related to running every year, so, you need to be extra careful that you don't put too much load on your body than it can handle. Start small and build up your strength and stamina so you can run a little further every few days. You can do this by setting easy distances for yourself and extend them regularly as your stamina increases. Once you reach your body limit, ensure that you stop so that you don't end up injured or do worse damage to your body.
10. JOIN A RUNNERS 'GROUP
Personally, I am lazy when it comes to running alone, I always need some motivation to really run my targeted distances. So I found a runners' group in my area and I was able to cover more distance and in less time too. I recommend that you do the same. Find a runners' group in your neighborhood, such group will act as a support group for you and will help you to stay motivated when you run, you will also find it to be a good social experience.
With these helpful tips, you should find it easier to get more positive results from your weight loss activities. Remember, Rome was not built in a day, so take it slow with your running routine, eat healthy, stay hydrated and equip yourself with more useful information about how to lose weight by following our blog and checking back here regularly.