13 April 2014

Guest Blog Post: Running For Fitness

No one looks sexy running; but damn if you don't feel it!
So I started running because my sister wanted a running partner for a 10k in San Fran.  I figured, "Ugh I don't run!  Why?!  Ugh, ok, I will do it!"  For my sister you know... and then a funny thing happened, I liked it.  No, no, I found a new drug!  Running can be so great for health; both mental and physical.  And magically I fell in love with it and as Forrest says, "For no particular reason I just kept on goin'."  So, Healthline wanted to do a guest post and I figured why not if the subject matter was of interest to me.  Running is, so for anyone who is thinking, not thinking or even uttered the word running.  Here is to you and I hope you can join in the good fun that is running.

Beginners Guide to Running for Fitness
Setting fitness goals is one of the most common new year’s resolutions around. Unfortunately for many, this desire to get in shape and turn over a new fitness leaf soon fizzles out in a week or two because of lack of planning and setting unrealistic goals. Some tend to choose fitness activities that require a lot of time and planning, while others choose those that don’t need a lot of preparation, such as running and jogging. Running is probably one of the best forms of exercise anyone can do; however, proper technique is important. Here are several running tips for beginners:
Plan your Schedule
Like any other exercise routine, setting a specific schedule for running is important. For beginners, most fitness experts recommend at least 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week. Running too far and too fast is the number one cause of injury among runners, so it is best to start easy, and increase the pace and distance gradually for a more positive result. Keeping a running journal or log is also a great way to track your progress. It also allows you to tune up your running routine if necessary.
Set a goal
Setting a goal is important when starting a fitness routine. It helps you to stay focused and motivates you throughout your exercise. Writing it down and posting it to an area where you can see it every day is also a good idea. Make sure that your goals are specific, attainable, measurable, timely and realistic to help you progress consistently, while avoiding the possibility of lapses. It is also recommended to categorize goals as short-term or long-term so that you are able to focus on one goal at a time. It also allows you to adjust physically and mentally to the changes brought by the new fitness program.
Clothing and Equipment
Running is an easy and cheap alternative to other exercise routines because it can be done almost everywhere, and requires very little equipment. A good pair of running shoes is the most important investment runners should make since this ensures the safety of the runner against injuries incurred with the use of improper shoes. It is best to purchase running shoes in specialty shops because they are more knowledgeable about what kind of shoe will complement your physique, goals, running style and ability. The late afternoon is the best time to shop for running shoes since feet swell slightly during the day.
Learn running techniques
Make sure you know all the basics before starting a running program. It is important to consult your physician to know your health limitations, especially for men 45 years and older or women who are 50 years and older. Start each run with a warm-up for at least 5 minutes. This can include quick walking, knee lifts and climbing stairs. Start running slowly with walking intervals to avoid straining. As time goes by, you can increase your pace and running time up to a speed and duration you’re comfortable with. Give yourself a few minutes to cool down after each run by walking and gently stretching your legs afterwards. It is best to run at least twice a week, consistently every week. Make sure that even if you’re running, you’ll still be able to carry a conversation. Running at the right intensity will keep you from burning out too quickly.
Mix up your routine
Mixing up other exercises or activities and adding variations can keep your fitness regimen more interesting. Running the same route over and over again can be boring, so it’s best to try different routes as you progress. Trails in woods, hills and beaches are also great places to run, since they allow you to enjoy your surroundings even while working out. You can also add variation by doing other activities such as cycling and aerobics. Try to add at least 20 minutes of strength workout in your routine twice a week as well. This will help you to build muscle and bone density, which can protect you against injuries.
Track what you eat
Exercise is not the only solution when trying to lose weight or keeping yourself healthy. Your eating habits play a big role in helping you achieve your fitness goals. Make sure to keep an eye on everything you eat. Try to avoid colas, candies and foods that are high in salt and sugar. Fruits and vegetables should comprise most of your diet since they contain fewer calories and significantly more nutrition.
David Novak is a international syndicated newspaper columnist, appearing in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV around the world. His byline has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Reader's Digest and GQ Magazine, among others. David is a health and diet enthusiast, and frequently writes on a wide array of health topics for various publications, including regular editions appearing in healthline.com. For more of his Healthline articles, visit http://www.healthline.com/ .

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