By: Ann Agapis, York JCC Life Coach:
With the spring weather finally here, many of us are looking to get out and enjoy the sunshine. The benefits of running have persuaded many beginners to lace up and hit the streets, trails, and tracks. Running outdoors, when performed properly, is an effective way to keep our mind and body healthy. The benefits of this cardio exercise span both physical and mental including, burning calories, building cardiovascular endurance, relieving anxiety, and boosting our mood.
Running is simple, but there are a few key considerations for starting a new running program. Below are a few pointers to get you started successfully and safely:
TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. Speak with your doctor before starting a program if you have any health conditions or have been sedentary for over a year. They will be able to advise you of any precautions and provide medical advice.
INVEST IN PROPER GEAR. Good running shoes are critical to avoid injury. It is a good idea to get fitted to make sure they fit correctly and comfortably. Although not necessary, you may want to use shorts, leggings, and tops specifically made for running. This will ensure you are comfortable and stay dry during runs.
ADD A WARM-UP BEFORE AND STRETCH AFTER YOUR RUNS. These are both important to stay safe and free from injury. You can do a quick 3-5 minute walk before getting started or try exercises like jumping jacks or walking lunges. Any stretches that include your quads, hamstrings, calves, hips, and back will be helpful to recover and avoid discomfort while training.
New runners can build endurance by running 1 minute, then walking for 1 minute. Repeat this cycle 5-7 times per session, 3 times per week. Then try 2 minutes running and 1 minute walking, etc. You can then eventually phase out the 1-minute recovery as you build endurance and strength. TIP: It is important to listen to your body. It is ok to feel challenged, however, you should be able to speak in full, complete sentences without running out of breath.
The views expressed in editorials and opinion pieces are those of each author and not necessarily the views of the York JCC.