Run for Your Life
There are many health benefits associated with running. Many doctors recommend running to reduce chances of stroke, heart disease and hypertension. Studies indicate that running reduces the chances of contracting breast cancer. Runners even age more slowly because of natural human growth hormones released during the exercise. This is the same hormone that some people inject into the face to achieve a younger and healthier appearance. When you make running a habit, your muscles get toned, your joints become more flexible and your bones grow stronger. Ideal for managing weight, running is a healthy addition to your exercise regime.
Stretch for Success
Stretching before you begin running warms up your muscles, increases blood flow and helps avoid injuries. However, even stretching has controversy attached to it. Some runners think stretching cold muscles leads to tears and strains, the very injuries you're attempting to prevent by stretching. Professionals suggest walking for five minutes prior to stretching. Walking helps warm up the muscles gently, so you can stretch without straining. The bottom line is that you should develop a routine that works for your body. Going slowly in the beginning and warming up either by walking or stretching is always a good idea.
The Great Form Debate
The controversy over whether or not running form is important is growing. Coaches and trainers believe good form is a way to conserve energy and run faster, but many runners think form has little to do with successful running. The fact is, everyone is built differently, and it's unlikely that one set form will work for everyone. Experts recommend you avoid form instructions that make you feel awkward or uncomfortable. Let your body tell you what works and what doesn't. Conserve energy by avoiding bounces and keeping your stride close to the ground.
Go Running, be Happy
Running is a great way to rev up your metabolism and increase your energy levels. Cross country skiing is the only physical activity that burns more calories than running. Running releases endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that make you feel happy; this is how the expression "Runner's high" came about. You can go from feeling fatigued and devoid of energy to excited and energized with a 20-minute run.
When picking out running shoes, shop in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest. You might also try buying a half size larger than normal to allow for the movement of running. Look for cushioning to act as a shock absorber. Find shoes that are comfortable and offer support. Shop with a professional, don't go to a discount store for a pair of pretty athletic shoes. Remember, pretty won't help when your feet hurt. Wear moisture wicking socks, as cotton causes blistering and makes your feet stink. Buy shoes every four to six months. You can also invest in multiple pairs and rotate them to make each pair last longer.