A fitness program should include the basics of aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching or flexibility, according to MayoClinic.com. For many people, running is the preferred form of aerobic exercise, offering physical, emotional and financial advantages. Before you start a running program, consult your doctor to be sure you don’t have any medical issues that could cause problems or increase your risk of injury.
You don’t need equipment or a gym membership to run. If you have a good pair of running shoes and comfortable clothing, you’ve spent all you need to spend. Don’t be tempted to cut corners in the matter of running shoes. A good pair of shoes will ensure you have secure footing, protect your feet and joints, and prevent injuries. Clothing should be absorbent and easy to wash.
A runner may choose to pound the pavement on a sidewalk or run down a country road. High schools and colleges often have tracks that a runner can use to exercise, usually for free. Many parks have running trails, and if you live out in the country, you can run on footpaths. Running on the beach not only provides a scenic setting, but you also get an extra workout from running in sand. You burn 1.6 times more calories per mile when running on wet sand than you would running on a hard surface, according to TheRunningAdvisor.com.
Good for Your Body
Running is one of a number of exercises such as swimming, cycling, jumping rope or dancing that provide aerobic benefits. It also strengthens the muscles in the legs, buttocks and back and helps burn calories. Running over difficult terrain can promote balance and coordination due to changing surfaces and inclines. Because running is a weight-bearing exercise, it can help prevent osteoporosis and keep bones strong.
Good for Your Mind
Running for exercise may improve your thinking skills and mental health, according to SteadyHealth.com. Improved blood flow benefits all of your body, including the brain, by providing more nutrients and oxygen. Running outdoors also provides visual stimulation. Vigorous exercise such as running causes your body to secrete chemical substances called endorphins. These chemicals literally make you feel good, and people who run regularly often talk about the “runner’s high” that occurs when endorphins kick in.
Good for Your Health
Vigorous exercise helps lower blood pressure and maintain elasticity of the blood vessels, according to Vanderbilt University. Deep breathing during running exercises the lungs and promotes the full use of your lung potential. Running can also help to normalize your weight and prevent weight gain as you age. Almost anyone can start a running program; just don’t try to do too much, too fast. Consult a doctor before you start and then work up gradually.
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