Many of us might have heard our elders saying 'All that tastes good need not be good for health. All that tastes bitter need not be bad for health'.
While this appears to be yet another old saying, these two sentences carry a lot of meaning in them.
Looking at these words from the surface, we feel that this points out to the food habits.
But in reality, these words are applicable to all crucial aspects of life including finance, knowledge enhancement, health, exercising and what not.
Let us apply these words to the physical fitness aspect of life.
'All that is tiring need not be bad for health and all that is comfortable need not do any good to the health'.
While this is applicable for any form of physical exercises, Running, in particular, fits in this bracket perfectly.
Let's jump deep into Running which is one of the least considered exercise for fitness but has a lot of benefits.
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Running - An Ultimate Guide
Why Running? What is the big deal about it? What are the benefits of Running?
How many times have you witnessed children playing actively outdoors suffer from health ailments of any sort?
In contrast, you must have also seen children who confine themselves to indoors are prone to frequent sickness and health issues.
Let's break the ice here and have a detailed look at the Benefits of Running studying its various aspects, to understand it to the fullest of its magnificence.
Why should you practice running
To answer the last question, Running is one of that magic routine potion that keeps children healthy at all points of time.
The many benefits of running coupled with others have the capacity to keep us with good health.
Not just children, regular running also helps elders maintain their health at its prime too.
Irrespective of the age-factor, Running makes you feel hale and healthy and helps you with your weight loss efforts immensely.
If you need to lose 1 pound, your body must burn 3500 calories. If you weigh 180 pounds and run 5 miles a day, you will eventually lose 5 pounds a month (Source).
Hence, keep in mind, not just running, the change over takes place over a period of time regardless of any exercises.
Anything that claims itself as a quick-fix surely comes with its side-effects.
Okay, coming back to the topic, Running does not restrict itself to improving the physical health of people but also the mental, emotional and psychological health too.
Therefore, if not any other fitness regime, consider to start Running for a few distance regularly as it comes with a load of good things.
Who can take-up running
Some among us run to enjoy the heck of it, while for some, it is an important part of their day to day life.
Here are some (but not limited to) who can take-up running in their fitness routines.
Who should not run
Certain health conditions prevent people from running even if they are interested to do so.
You should refrain from running, if you:
If you wish to succeed in an activity, Setting goals is one of the first and foremost aspects. Running isn't an exception to this.
When you take this first step in the most perfect manner, it makes even the invisible results into a visible one.
When you set a goal, you are already half way through your journey.
On the other hand, when you fail to set your goals in a proper manner, you keep running from pillar to post but reach nowhere really worthwhile.
Set your goals for running taking into consideration those benefits of running that you want to specifically exploit.
These goals may range from fitness to winning over the competition.
Let us look at some probable goals that you can set related to running.
1. Overall fitness
One of your goals for running can be your intention to improve the overall fitness of your health from a holistic angle.
This means you must set a goal that caters to the overall health of the entire body not focusing only on specific areas like abdomen reduction or cardiac strengthening.
Overall fitness is the focus here - you must set a goal that includes other forms of exercises and sports to value-add to the same.
2. Initiating right way
This goal must be the primary one and is predominantly applicable for those focusing on their fitness at the beginner level.
Running, right from the first day or as soon as you decide to run, is a wrong way of initiating the thing.
Set your goal in such a way that you start with brisk walking first, then proceed to jog and land up in running after some time.
This may take even a few months and it is only prudent to maintain patience until then.
Many a time, one of your friends who has initiated running for personal or health reasons, may call you to join him.
You may initiate running with him just to provide companionship.
However, you may make this casual effort into a serious one by setting some value adding the goal for yourself.
This will add more meaning to the activity that started merely as a companionship one.
4. Running for weight loss
One of the main reasons why many people choose Running as a form of exercise over the others is to reduce weight.
Obesity is a huge problem faced by many of us in the recent days.
Just consider this fact - More than 1.9 Billion adults who are 18+ years were in the overweight conditions in 2016. Out of these, 650 Million people were obese (Source).
It is not at all surprising given the fact that Running helps you in losing weight in a very effective way.
Running, is in fact, the fastest routine for weight loss as you burn twice the number of calories as such (Source).
Set a clear goal that is gradual and practically possible, so you lose your weight in the process and not your energy.
5. Winning over the competition
Running goals pertaining to competitions is one of the most interesting aspects one can relish.
Join running clubs for the purpose who organize frequent running championships and events regularly.
These activities are classified by the levels of the runner right from beginners to experts.
You can have either the count of the events you participate in a year or the number of wins you want to clock during a given period as your goal.
Once you start implementing your goals pertaining to running, increase the parameters in a paced manner. As you do so, ensure you set goals at every stage.
Now that you are already into running, unlike the initial stages, set goals that scare you a little but excites you a lot.
To summarize, set goals to avail the maximum benefits of running in a single shot suiting your capability levels.
How to prepare
Deciding to run is only the first step towards living a healthy life.
However, there are certain things you need to consider when you want to avail the benefits of running in a safe manner.
Running injuries are common and very much preventable. Hence, getting prepared for running offers you a helping hand and saves you from many running accidents which may sometimes be severe.
Here are few things which you can consider to make Running comfortable for you.
It is wise to understand how to prepare for running through the experience of others.
Remember, learning from others experience is wiser than learning everything out of one's own follies.
Benefits of running
There are innumerable benefits of running. Here are some of those enlisted below.
1. Burn calories
If your motive is to burn off extra calories, then you must add running to your daily fitness regime right away.
Running is one of the best exercises to reduce weight as it burns a lot of calories.
Running strengthens your core and tones every muscle of your body from the waistline.
All exercises help in burning calories. But, Running can burn double the number of calories compared to other exercises or workouts you do in the gym.
As per reports, Running burns more calories than Swimming, Weight Training or even cross country Skiing (Source).
Say goodbye to your extra kilos and hello to running.
Health experts further claim that running backward helps in burning approximately 20 per cent more calories in contrast to running forward (Source). Hence, running backward is more effective in burning calories.
2. Strengthens bones and joints
Running strengthens your bones and joints.
Running is a weight-bearing exercise that stresses the skeletal system just enough to help build stronger bones. By running regularly the bones will adapt to this stress and improves the bone density.
Higher the bone density stronger the bones.
And this, in turn, reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures as you age.
3. Helps sleep like a baby
If you are finding difficulty in getting a good night’s sleep, then here is the solution you are looking for.
Runners tend to fall asleep more easily and quickly with quality sleep.
Running puts our hormones in better balance that encourages higher quality sleep.
Hence, it is good to practice running regularly to enjoy longer quality sleep.
4. Keeps heart healthy
Running is a great way to get your cardio in.
Running strengthens your heart by reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases like lower heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol other serious complications.
Further, running keeps the arteries elastic so blood flows smoothly thereby preventing artery clogging.
Meanwhile, running improves your blood circulation and helps your heart to pump more efficiently as well.
People who run for just a few minutes a day can reduce their risk of heart disease by almost half compared to non-runners.
Overall running is a great exercise for the heart and thereby, for your body.
It is recommended that you must involve in a moderate-intensity aerobic activity for 150 minutes or high-intensity aerobic activity for 75 minutes each week to maintain good health (Source). Running falls under the high-intensity activity depending on the pace of your run and your level of fitness.
As you can see, Running is a very easier routine with a lot of good benefits.
5. Relieves stress
Running is a natural stress buster.
Running releases a natural feel-good hormone called Endorphins that makes you feel happy and good.
Endorphins boost your spirits and make you feel positive helping you to ease stress, anxiety, and depression.
All in all, running works as stress-resistant as it can instantly lift up your mood and give you a sense of well-being.
Running is the simplest and the healthiest way to cope with daily stress.
6. Adds health and glow to the skin
Running increases blood flow levels that keep the skin cells active and vital.
The oxygen that flows to the skin cells rejuvenates the skin making it glow with health.
As a parallel action, it detoxifies the skin, cleanses the pores and removes the debris accumulated on the surface of the skin.
7. Adds years to life
Running does not only keeps you healthy and active, it can add years to your lifespan.
As per the stats of the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who exercise or run regularly tend to live longer than those who don’t perform any exercise (Source).
Add years to your life by running for at least 5-10 minutes a day.
We are not saying to quit gym or other workouts altogether. We are just saying to include running in your daily workout regime as it offers innumerable benefits to your overall health.
Running, as one may think, is not a casual activity in any way. It is one of those activities that need to be done with utmost care in a planned manner.
Beginners, in particular, need to be absolutely careful in approaching running as a goal-oriented activity rather than getting excited in a childish manner.
We provide here some pertinent tips which may be useful for you to avail the benefits of Running in a positive manner.
1. Get a pair of good running shoes
The first and foremost thing to do as soon as you decide to start running is to purchase a good pair of shoes that suit the purpose.
Running shoes are completely different from the shoes preferred for walking or the Tennis and Basketball shoes available in the market.
An ideal pair of running shoes must provide good support and help you by preventing foot and knee pain after the run.
The wrong pair of shoes makes the running sessions strenuous one causing injuries from time to time.
In sharp contrast, good shoes complement your running efforts making your run a pleasant and fruitful one.
2. Warm up
As you get ready for a run, warm up for a couple of minutes.
Shake your legs and arms a bit so that you are physically and mentally ready for running.
3. Mix walking with running
If you are a beginner and has initiated your running spree only recently, walk for some time and then run. Again, slow down to walk from running for some time.
Mixing and matching walking and running will help you manage the activity in a more efficient manner.
As you gain expertise, you may increase the running time lessening the walking time in between.
4. Maintain the right posture
Make sure that you run with your body erect at all points of time.
Wrong swaying posture may cause more damage to you while running than really adding value.
Right posture that builds naturally, in fact, is one of the key benefits of running daily.
5. Focus on gradual pace improvement
Irrespective of whether you are a beginner or at an intermediate level, increasing the pace of running in a gradual manner is advisable.
Do not attempt to increase your running speed all of a sudden since this may cause injuries in addition to making you feel the fatigue.
6. Lean on time rather than distance
Calculate the time you are running right from the time you begin rather than calculating the distance you covered.
This may discourage you initially when you cover very little distance.
It may also not be appropriate to track your performance in the perfect manner.
7. Breathe right
Running gets complimented when you breathe in the correct way.
Ensure you breathe in for every two steps and breathe out every three steps of you run (Source).
One more important habit you need to cultivate while running is to breathe through both your nose and mouth at the same time.
Lastly, if you wish to get into breathing the right way, avoid listening to music when you are still in the process of learning.
7. Calculate foot turnovers
Increasing the turnover of your foot not only tones your thighs but also strengthens the whole body in a uniform manner.
Taking approximately 180 steps in just 60 seconds helps you avoid shin injuries.
Running is very good for health.
The innumerable benefits of running availed by people who are in the habit make them strong in many aspects.
However, there is a flip-side to everything and running has the same too.
Here are some of the side-effects of running:
The Bottom Line
There are many things in life which we yearn to do even after knowing that it's not good for us.
There are many other things which we despise to do even if it does good for us.
We keep running the life race in such a mechanical manner that we cease to realize that it is all in the mind.
Running is nothing but the fight between one aspect of the brain which motivates you to carry on, so you enjoy good health and the other one which makes you feel lethargic.
When we allow our body to control our mind, we feel exhausted almost during every minutes of our lives wanting to do nothing.
Avoid heeding to the voice inside you that keeps you away from running every day.
When you avoid heeding to this liar's voice, you become truthful to your physical, mental and emotional health at all points of time.