Whether it’s a leisurely jog or a quick race, running can be great exercise.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. That’s less than thirty minutes per day, five times per week! Moderate exercise can improve blood circulation, prevent bone loss, and help manage stress.
Running doesn’t require a lot of specialized equipment – just some really good shoes. Want to hit the pavement? Here are some tips to help you start running in a healthy way.
Picking your gear
For any level of runner, at any age, wearing the right shoes is important.
“Without a doubt, plantar fasciitis, shin splints and other issues can be helped by the right shoe,” Robert Smith, owner of Robert’s Running and Walking Shop in Huntington, West Virginia, says in a Competitor article.
The article notes that many runners may go up a half size from their street shoes to allow for wiggle room in the toe area, but make sure that the heel is snug to avoid slippage while running.
Buy your shoes based on function, not fashion. Brands often vary in sizes, so make sure to have your feet measured and try on the shoes before you buy them.
Pay attention to more than just your shoes when you run. Hot weather can make running unpleasant. When it’s warm outside, it’s important to stay hydrated. Wear lightweight layers, and don’t forget to wear sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.
Fueling your body
Before you start running, it’s important to think about what’s fueling your body.
Fitness Magazine lists several recipes for foods to eat both before and after a workout. For example, whole wheat toast with a sliced banana provides both simple and complex carbohydrates. Apple wedges with almond butter can help fight hunger before a workout.
Choose a meal or snack that includes lean protein after your workout. Chicken, fish, eggs, and chocolate milk are great options for post-workout recovery.
Pacing your run
Running and fitness expert Jenny Hadfield says one mistake runners make is going too fast too soon.
“A good rule of thumb is to start from where you are fitness wise – if you are coming off the couch start with a run-walk program for 20 minutes and build up slowly,” she writes.
Pay attention to any pains you feel in your body. You will likely feel muscle soreness six to eight hours after running if you are a beginner, an exercise scientist says in article published on CNN.
Monica Vazquez, a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer, says that when muscles repair themselves they get larger and stronger. This helps prevent the muscle soreness from happening again.
But sharp pain could mean it’s time to rest. If the pain is persistent, you may need to see a doctor to address any injuries.
In some cases, it is important to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Mayo Clinic notes that those with arthritis, asthma or heart disease should talk to their doctors before starting an exercise program. People with certain medical conditions should also consult a doctor before starting to exercise vigorously, including those with high cholesterol or those who smoke.
Ready to start running? Plug in your favorite music or just enjoy the sights around you. You’re on the right track to becoming a healthier human being!