Running For Your Life
Running extends our life span! No expensive equipment is required. You can do it alone or in a group. Run indoors on a treadmill or in the great outdoors. And age does not matter because you can slow it down to a jog or up the pace according to your fitness level. And best of all, it’s free!
You don’t need to be a marathon runner to gain great benefits from running. Just a 30 to 45 minute moderate jog three times a week is enough to keep you in good cardiovascular health. Many people are concerned about long-term damage to joints such as knees, ankles and hips as a result of running. However, with good quality running shoes and a sensible approach, the risks are minimal and the health benefits far outweigh these possible risks.
Improves cardiovascular health
Running is highly recommended as an aerobic exercise to physically condition your heart and lungs. It makes the heart stronger and increases the capacity of blood circulation and respiratory system. It promotes efficient flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body and help to decrease the risk of a heart attack. The heart and vascular system gets a real boost during a run as it works hard to pump all the blood around your body to feed the muscles with oxygen.
After a few weeks of regular running, the heart becomes more efficient at pumping to such an extent that the resting heart rate slows so that the heart needs to do less work. You’ll find that anything you do becomes easier and you have higher energy levels. Stress becomes easier to deal with as the heart becomes more efficient. Running is a great life-extender!
Strengthens and tones muscles
Running will strengthen the muscles and bone density of your legs, hips and back. Enjoy a sexy silhouette with toned legs and a firm butt. Long distance runners have strong legs even though they often look thin. Also, the constant impact and weight bearing during running can increase bone density, which can fend off osteoporosis.
Promotes mental well being
Running, as with all other forms of exercise, can also counteract depression. It helps with relaxation, reduction of anxiety and is a great stress-reliever. Many runners enjoy reaching the “runner’s high” – that euphoric, clear and calm state they feel after a long run. Research shows that healthy adults who exercise regularly are generally happier than those who don’t.
Efficient weight loss program
It is a fact that running makes you burn fat and lose weight. In addition to increasing metabolism, it is an effective way to burn more calories. You burn 80 calories every 10 minutes and more if you go faster. If calories consumed in food are less than calories spent during exercise and other daily activities, you will lose weight. It is impossible not to.
Interval training is recommended for those who are very overweight. Try a minute of jogging followed by a minute of walking, then a minute of jogging and so on. As long as you get some jogging done, it will result in weight loss.
Speed up digestion
Even a quick ten-minute brisk walk in the park will go a long way in relieving bloating as exercise helps gas pass through the digestive tract quicker. In addition, constipation – an “illness” that affects women in particular – does not occur at all in women who jog and run regularly.
However, take note not to run right after a big meal. Let your food digest for at least two hours before you put on your running shoes and head out the door.
Running Improves Sleep
When you exercise well, sleep comes much easier. If you have trouble sleeping, try jogging late in the afternoon. There’s a natural dip in body temperature 5 to 6 hours after exercise. This is the ideal time for sleep as your body naturally slows down while rebuilding your muscles. You’ll find regular exercise makes your sleep better even on days when you don’t exercise.
Regulates blood pressure
Exercise dilates the blood vessels, especially the vessels in the muscles and under the skin. When the vessel is enlarged, blood flows freely and without constraint. If you have high blood pressure, you need to exercise regularly – at least three times a week at moderate speed and under medical supervision – to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Decreases fat content in the blood
Blood contains two main types of lipids – cholesterol and triglycerides. High levels of both are known to cause cardiovascular problems if left untreated over time. Regular physical exercise along with a smart diet reduces the amount of triglycerides and bad cholesterol while increasing the amount of good cholesterol in the blood.
Safety Tips Every Woman Must Know
- Whenever possible, try to run with partner(s). Running alone could make you an easy target for criminals, not to mention that finding a running partner would help you stay on track and feel more committed to your running
- Stick to well-populated areas, and don’t always run the same predictable route.
- Don’t wear jewellery.
- Pay attention to your surroundings.
- Carry identification, but include only your name and an emergency phone number.
- It’s a good idea to notify your family members about your running route and your estimated arrival time
- A common sense tip: avoid running in deserted areas and if you enjoy running at night, make sure you run in lighted areas
Advice from the pros:
1) To reduce the chance of running injuries, incorporate strengthening exercises like weight lifting or Pilates to build up vigour and tone in the muscles to support your joints. Ensure that you use the equipment correctly and select the appropriate weights. Seek proper advice from trainers if you are doing it for the first time.
2) Alternate your jogging sessions with cross training exercises like yoga. The pounding and muscle tightening of running will be balanced out by the loosening and restoring techniques of yoga.
3) Jog on a proper running track or choose softer surfaces such as grassy areas and dirt paths. Regular sidewalks and roads have greater shock impact to the knees and other body areas. Avoid rocky or uneven surfaces as these pose the risk of twisted ankles.
4) Invest in a pair of proper running shoes to ensure a comfortable run and help prevent injuries. Things to note are the shape and arch of your foot (high arches or flat feet). It should be ½ to a full size bigger than your regular shoe size because your feet will swell when you run and you need plenty of room in the toe-box. If your toes are crammed in the front of the running shoe, you could develop blisters or black toenails.
Useful Facts About Running:
- Due to the fact that women’s pelvises are broader than men’s, women’s feet tend to strike the ground differently, using more of their outside feet. As a result, women wear-out their shoes’ outer edges much quicker than men.
- Women generally have narrower feet than men, so when you’re buying running shoes, your best bet will probably be a pair designed specifically for women. But everyone’s different; if your feet are wide, you may actually feel more comfortable in shoes designed for men. The bottom line: buy the shoe that fits your feet. If there is any question – or if you suffer blisters or injuries because of ill-fitting shoes – consult a podiatrist who specialises in treating runners.
- Women sweat less than men. However, contrary to popular belief, women dissipate heat as well as men. The reason: women are smaller and have a higher body-surface-to-volume ratio, which means that although their evaporative cooling is less efficient, they need less of it to achieve the same result. Nonetheless, be sure to drink plenty of water (until your urine runs clear) to offset the effects of sweating and prevent dehydration.
- No matter what your size, it’s a good idea to wear a sports bra when you run. By controlling breast motion, it will make you feel more comfortable. Look for one that stretches horizontally but not vertically. Most importantly, try before you buy. A sports bra should fit snugly, yet not feel too constrictive. Run or jump on the spot to see if it gives you the support you need.
- Babies dislike the taste of post- exercise breast milk, which is high in lactic acid and imparts a sour flavour. One study found that nursing mums who logged 35 minutes on the treadmill had to cope with grimacing, reluctant infants if they nursed too soon afterwards. Researchers recommend that you either collect milk for later feeding, or breast-feed before running.
- The two minerals that women runners need to pay the most attention to are calcium and iron. (Iron is especially important for menstruating women.) Good sources of calcium are dairy products, dark leafy vegetables, broccoli, canned sardines and salmon, while foods high in iron include liver, fortified dry cereals, beef and spinach.
- If you run so much that your periods become light or non-existent, you may be endangering your bones. Amenorrhoea (lack of a monthly period) means that little or no oestrogen, essential for the replacement of bone minerals, is circulating in your body. Amenhorroeic women can stop, but not reverse, the damage by taking oestrogen and getting plenty of calcium. If your periods are infrequent or absent, consult a gynaecologist, preferably one sensitive to the needs of runners.