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Running for good

Updated: Feb 21, 2019

Running for good

Running does not have a great reputation in the gym.

I have overheard, over the years, statements claiming that running:

Is bad for your knees.

Is not a help in burning calories (weight lifting is better for that purpose, apparently).

Is boring.

Is not good if you want to get bigger and keep your muscle gains.

Can hurt the back.

Against this backdrop of opinion it is important to reiterate some core principles where running is concerned, if you want to get the best from the exercise:

Try to build up your cardio' routine if it includes a running element as you would for a weight-lifting routine.

When starting off running begin with a fast walk, then when you feel warm enough start to run.

It is crucial to not overdo your run. So, pick small distance to begin with to build a sense of achievement in your run (500 meters, 1k, 2k).

Try to beat your best time every time that you run.

Then, when you are confident with your performance and technique, you can move onto interval training (including modest acceleration and sprinting), or onto incline running.

When you run on a treadmill, and for health purposes, 5 to 25 minutes is enough to get a solid result.

Running as a performance sport is something else and is more about pushing boundaries and building your sporting performance, so be realistic in your approach!

Also, bear in mind that running does not have to be painful (or indeed boring).

Without targets and an understanding of what you can get out of it, running can easily become an uncomfortable experience (and especially if you do not have have a sport background), so apply targets to your running and ensure that these are sensible.

And if you do, you should be able to reap the following specific rewards:

A better athletic performance through the enhanced deployment of oxygen and increased flexibility.

Reduced stress and blood pressure (the two being related!).

The efficient burning of calories, leading to healthy and balanced weight-loss.

More and better sleep, leading to more energised days (though you should avoid running during the four hours immediately prior to sleep).

Stronger joints and bones, as running increases bone density, which in turn reduces the risk of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis (research suggests that it takes only two 15-minute running sessions per week to reduce the risk of the latter by 40%).

An increased life expectancy, while research suggests that those who run for 30 minutes, three times a week, reduce their biological age by up to nine years.

A more efficient digestive system and a healthier heart, while research suggests that running for as little as an hour a week can reduce the risk of heart disease by almost 50%.

A stronger immune system, though this can only be achieved by running around 30km a week (any more and the research suggests that the benefits turn into negatives).

Increased self-confidence through feeling fitter, stronger and more energetic (a sort of self-fulfilling cycle of behaviour).

Increased happiness and hormone levels as endorphins and serotonin released through running make you feel better and staves off the threat of depression.

These are only some of the many health benefits of running.

Recent research also suggests that regular running boosts optimism and can reduce the risk of many cancers and diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. Overall, there is a consensus that running regularly can increase your quality of life – both physically and mentally. So there’s no excuse not to run.

Anyone with reasonable levels of fitness and no injuries can do it.

Need more convincing?

Then take a look to these links about running and its benefits and see if you appetite to run has been whetted:

Finally, when considering the benefits of running please bear in mind that being healthy is a body and mind equation, and that running can be a helpful part of this balancing process.


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