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It's a good idea to consult your doctor before beginning any physical activity. The information in this article is not meant to be technical, it's just a guideline. Use the information as you like.
With that said, let's talk about running and its benefits.
The wonderful thing about running/jogging is that I can be done just about anywhere in the world. All you really need is a good pair of shoes and some determination.
Running is a great stress outlet and it promotes weight loss and fitness all at the same time. You are probably wondering why it's not a part of everyone's everyday life. That is the purpose of this article, to encourage running as a means of physical and mental health.
The challenge of getting out there and pushing yourself is the kicker for most people. When you decide to give it a try you'll quickly see how enjoyable it really is. Every time you finish a run you'll feel a great sense of accomplishment, this is because you've pushed yourself to your limits and you know what you've done is good for you.
The mental work out I refer to is the mental training and control it takes to make each stride and to push yourself. When you become tired your mind starts thinking of other things you'd rather be doing that are less strenuous. You tell yourself not to listen and to focus more. So you focus on your breathing and your form. You are training your mind not to give in. When you are focused before you know it you've conquered your run for another day. It's a great sense of accomplishment!
I recommend having 3 or so different places to run, the variety will keep it interesting and more fun. The distance you cover is totally up to you, run distances you feel comfortable with. When you feel that you are ready to add more length to your sessions, then do so, in small increments.
Always remember to stretch out before you begin running, this will prevent injury and ensure your muscles are ready for the work ahead. You should be stretching for at least 4 to 5 minutes before starting. Don't forget that running uses more than just your legs, so stretch everything, not just your legs. If it's cold out, it's a good idea to stretch more than regularly and to go for a quick warm-up walk.
Drinking water will keep you hydrated and help you go the distance. I like to drink 3 tall glasses of water before I go for a run and roughly the same amount immediately after I finish the run. You can even take water with you and drink it while running, keep in mind that you'll need something to hold the water unless you don't mind having the bottle/container in your hand.
Some key elements to think about and remember while on your run are good pace and proper form. These 2 factors will hugely affect your ability "keep going". If you push yourself to much off the get go, you won't have any energy left for the middle or end of your run. If you ever get the feeling that you NEED to stop, DON'T!. What I recommend is, slowing down your pace to almost walking speed, but keep the running form. Soon enough you'll have your breath back and you can pick up the pace again. The importance of form is related to efficient use of your energy. You should try to keep your back reasonably straight, to keep from hunching over; this also helps in proper respiration. Also don't move your arms excessively, this is a common mistake and it's easily fixed. Try to keep your arms reasonably limber and if you move them while taking strides, try to move them in a forward-to-backward motion. Moving your arms side to side causes you to waste energy, keep your momentum going in the direction you want - forward.
When you're finished, make sure you cool down properly. This will keep away muscle cramps and it's all around easier on your body. Walk for a few minutes and remember to stretch well when you're done. And remember you can never have too much water after a long run!
See you out there!
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