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If you are not a runner you may have noticed friends, both in real life and social media, say things like, “wow! I feel so much better after my run!” Or “getting outside for a run really helps control my stress level!” Right there you already have two reasons to start running right now!
I may be writing this during a time that we are all staying home a lot more than usual, but this information applies no matter what is going on in our lives. Stress exists all the time, as well as pressures from work, kids, and even our significant others.
If you follow social media you probably are seeing #runners saying things like thank goodness for #running! Or, I feel so much better after my run! Why don't you join us? Here are 5 reasons you should start running right now!Click To Tweet 5 Reasons to Start Running Right Now!
Let’s take a look at five reasons to start running right now. I’m sure there are more so if you think of some please share in the comments.
Running Help You Release Stress
Many runners claim that they feel better after a run, especially during stressful times, but is it true? Yes, studies have shown that exercise has a beneficial effect on stress, suggesting the theory that it recruits a process that confers enduring resilience to stress, even going so far as to say that aerobic exercise has antidepressant protections. (source)
Running Gets You Outdoors
Frankly, too many of us spend too much time indoors. Sheltering at home or not, we tend to go from home to work, maybe to the gym, then back home again, barely even seeing much of the sun. Getting outdoors is good for the soul (objective opinion here), plus we need the sunshine and Vitamin D.
Running Helps You Maintain a Healthy Weight
Running, along with a healthy diet and strength training, are very helpful in maintaining a healthy weight. Running burns about 100 calories per mile, so if weight loss is your objective, positive changes in eating habits are necessary too, but running will help you achieve your goal.
Running Helps Strengthen Your Cardiovascular System
Running, like any aerobic exercise, will strengthen your heart and lungs. Running is a highly aerobic exercise that uses fatty acids and carbohydrates for energy. Runners tend to have low resting heart rates and high maximal oxygen consumption. Distance running has positive effects on a host of coronary risk factors. (source)
Running is Good for Your Knees
If you are not yet a runner, you may be under the impression that running is bad for your knees. Most runners hear that all the time from their non-runner friends. However, there is some evidence that running is actually good for your knees. The theory is that since exercise helps reduce inflammation throughout your body, running will help reduce the effect of inflammation in your knees. (source) There are other studies that indicate that running may decrease the chance of developing osteoarthritis. (source)
These are just a few of many reasons to start running right now. Others include stronger bones, improved body composition, and better general health. That’s not even mentioning the social aspects of running. Ask any runner: the best friends are running friends! Runners have a connection that bonds them for life.
Get Started Running
Have I convinced you? So let’s get started.
Get Running Shoes
While runners like to say that running doesn’t require much equipment (unlike cycling), it does, however, involve getting a good pair of running shoes. The thing is, the running shoes that work for me (or any other runner) may not work for you. The best thing to do is to head on out to your local running store, talk to the Shoe Guy, and try out several pairs. Note for current times: Obviously that will not be possible during Shelter in Place restrictions. Instead, call a running shoe expert (like at Roadrunner Sports), who can answer your questions and help you find the right shoe. It’s not ideal, but it will help you get started. You can contact a Roadrunner Sports fit expert at 1-800-743-3206.
Honestly, I believe the reason that so many people drop out of running within the first month is because they go for their first run, finish three miles, then they can’t walk for a week. I know that’s what happened to me! Seriously, my calves were so sore after that first run that I could hardly move let alone run for days! So I speak from experience when I tell you to start slow.
Starting slow means to begin a walk/run program. Try walking for a minute then running for a minute. Repeat four or five times. Gradually increase the run time and decrease the walk time. Increase the time of the intervals. Increase the number of intervals. Note: don’t increase all of these things in one session.
Find a Crew
As I said above, running friends are the best! They love new runners. They will encourage you, offer advice (which is great but be careful), and help make running more fun. Join a running club, recruit a friend (or a spouse)! If that’s not available, there are many running “clubs” on Facebook, Strava, and Garmin that will help keep you accountable and increase your enjoyment of running.
Run fast, run slow, run short, run long, just run
That means, do your own thing. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far you go. If you’re slow, join the crowd! There are many more slow runners that there are fast ones. Just get outside and go.
Don’t “Just” Run
A healthy runner is one who cross-trains with strength training and/or other sports. Strength training is important to optimize and balance your body, to get stronger, and to reduce the chance of injury. You don’t need a lot of equipment or time. Here are a couple of my strength workouts that are designed for runners.
At Home, No Equipment Runner’s Workout
Runner’s Workout: 5 Exercises to Strengthen Your Entire Body
Improve Your Running by Strengthening and Activating Your Glutes
It’s also important to take care of your body with things like stretching and foam rolling. Yes, running is great and great for you, but it is a high-impact exercise that needs recovery time and care. Here are a few tips.
Self-Care for Runners: It’s Worth the Time
Upgrade Your Post-Run Stretch Routine
The most important thing is just to get out there and start running (slowly). The details will come. For now, get outside and get going.
I’ve written other posts that will help you get started running right now. They go into a little more detail about starting a running program as well as answering some of the most common questions.
10 Tips for Starting a Running Program
14 Useful Things to Know When You Start Running
Asked and Answered: Your Top 10 Running Questions
5 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Running
I hope this will help you start running right now! Please ask if you have any questions. Fellow runners! What tips do you have to help a newbie along?
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