Starting Out: Running for Beginners
The toughest part about starting anything new is actually taking the first step. If you have been thinking about starting an exercise program, there is no better time to start than right now.
There are plenty of reasons to get off the couch and into your trainers. The most important reason is your health.
Working out just 30 minutes a day, three days a week, will help you
shed pounds, tone your muscles and improve the functionality of your
heart and lungs.
Excess weight puts you at an increased risk of developing a variety of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, liver disease and lung problems.
But even if you aren't overweight, you are still at risk if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Without regular activity, your body will slowly shut down. You will lose
muscle tone and begin aging long before your time.
One of the great things about running is that it doesn't cost a fortune to get started. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and some comfortable clothing – items you probably own already.
You can worry
about the latest in jogging fashion and the coolest shoes once you get
serious about your new lifestyle. The shape of your body will change –
for the better – so don't buy any fancy jogging outfits until you see
the new you.
You might want to get a physical exam before you start a running program, just to make sure you don't have any underlying health issues that may interfere with your plans.
Making the decision to live a healthy lifestyle is the first step. Once you have made this decision, it is just a matter of getting started.
Having a buddy will help you stay on track. It's easy to break a promise to yourself, but when you make a promise to friend, you are less likely to back out.
Choose someone that is easily accessible and reliable. Your motivation will plummet if your running mate constantly comes up with excuses for skipping a day.
Start by walking, and gradually increase the pace. During the first few weeks, you shouldn't try a full out run. Keep the pace light and easy, with several walking breaks. Using landmarks is a great way to mark your pace.
For example, you will walk to the first intersection, and then jog to the next one, and so on throughout your route. Walking to the first milestone will give your muscles a chance to warm up so you won't end up pulling a muscle or risk a sprain.
You can do a quick warm-up before you start your route, but since a good warm up generally involves light jogging or walking, you can save time by making your warm up part of your workout. One of the biggest excuses people use for not exercising is the lack of time.
Cool down after your run with yoga, stretching and meditation. This is important for your mind, as well as your body. Running creates quite an adrenaline rush.
Diving right into the shower and rushing around to get ready for your day will cause a great amount of stress. Stress is a common trigger for a variety of diseases and conditions. Take a few minutes to relax.
As your body gets stronger and healthier, you will begin to think more about what you eat. Some people think changing their eating habits is impossible, but it is actually quite easy, if you go about it the right way.
The key is to make small changes every day. Before long, you will have replaced all of the junk food and empty calories with healthy alternatives.
Once you start increasing the pace and distance of your runs, you may feel a bit of pain. Any pain that makes you limp, fold over or otherwise change your stride is not a good sign.
This could mean you have over-exerted yourself or you have an injury. Don't ignore these signs. If the pain doesn't go away after you relax, or becomes worse, see your doctor.
The best way to avoid this from happening is by taking it slow. Don't try to do too much too soon. As a general rule, increase your pace and distance by no more than ten percent a week.
Running is a great way to improve the quality of your life, so don't put it off any longer. Get started today.