Benefits of Running

Cardio, it’s called. Burning calories. It is also called running, and depending on the expert or fitness tracking machine, you might say that you burn somewhere from 100-150 calories a mile, while running at an average pace.

Running is enjoyed by people of all ages for all reasons. Running can be done for health reasons, improving immune and cardiovascular systems. Some runners like it for its psychological benefits, as a way to reduce stress or burn off excess energy. Running can be used as a way to “get away from things for a while.”

But How Do You Get Into Running?

Running seems like it is something every able bodied person can do. There are a lot of things that make running difficult. For instance, everyone runs differently. The combination of genetics, environment, athletic level, lifestyle, and nutrition all play a part in how a foot connects with the ground step by step. Add to that, different running surfaces and running gear, and, “Whoa!” Suddenly, running becomes a little bit more difficult than just buying a pair of tennis shoes and hitting the pavement. Even more important are the steps you take to prevent injury, that first step before you run is building your team.

 

Your Team

True runners are part of a team. It might be a group of fellow seasoned runners sharing trade secrets. The team could be a coach and a few support staff, giving guidance, and mostly, your physician. Your physician will be the first one who can look at your health and determine whether it is safe or not to start running, or if you should begin with a less intense and scaled back program.

Your physician should be knowledgeable about all of the body systems, because running is a full body sport. Running is all about energy and how you use that energy. For instance, did you know that some runners tend to clench their jaws while sprinting? This kind of unproductive muscle tensing often wastes valuable energy while the body is using up a maximum amount of energy, making the sprint a little slower because the runner was too busy looking like the T-1000 from Terminator 2. That runner will be back, in the back of the race.

An integrative medicine perspective is important because a runner utilizes all parts of the body for effective running. Physicians practicing Integrative Medicine will be better trained to realize what a weak core (stomach region) might do that can increase your risk of injury. Your team needs to include one strong medical expert, so that the rest of you can coordinate resources based on that.

 

Weak core? Abs and lower back not strong enough?

Your team should also include at least one personal trainer, chiropractor or physical therapist, who is experienced enough to work with runners. This person could be another runner on your team who can give some advice on how to strengthen your core. Let me give you a little hint, if the only thing they recommend to get your core stronger is do sit ups or crunches, you should probably get someone else on your team.

Another good teammate is that running store that you always walk by, but never enter. Local running stores are run by some of the most passionate people you will ever meet. A running shoe store specializes in a kind of analysis where they look at how your feet touch the ground, and recommend a shoe based on that kind of “gait.” This is called your “running gait” and will be discussed in future blog posts.

And lastly, for your group of fellow runners, take to the Internet! There are a lot of organizations in the New York City and other areas that are running clubs. One way to find them is to check out Meetup.com. Search “running clubs.” A great city-wide organization is the New York Road Runners organization. If you search for it, every city should have a running club that meets up throughout the week. You can even run with multiple clubs, if you prefer.

Don’t Forget: Drink water before, during, and after your run. After all, we run because we want to stay healthy and hydrated, too.

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