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Run Your Way to a Healthier You

Now that you’ve been walking at a moderate or vigorous pace for a while, it's time to think about challenging yourself and introduce running into your fitness plan.  Here you will find all the resources you need to begin.

If you have been sedentary, start with walking and then brisk walking before beginning to run. Get tips on walking and learn more about Rush Copley's walking program to get you started.

There are many benefits to running. They include weight loss, improved joint and bone health, better sleep patterns, increased metabolism and increased cardiovascular health. Running has also been shown to improve mood, reduce stress, improve balance and coordination, lower blood pressure and raise good cholesterol.

Tips for Getting Started

While running is free and you can run just about anywhere, here are some important tips to keep your body feeling good while running:

  • Properly fitting shoes are a must! Purchase a good pair of running shoes designed for your arch and stride type. If you're not sure which type of shoe you need, visit a local running specialty store to get fitted properly. Good socks are as important as good shoes. Look for socks that are seam-free and that manage moisture to avoid blisters.
  • Begin by walking for time, not distance. You want to be sure that you do not run too fast too soon.
  • Be sure to start your running routine with a proper warm up to increase flexibility and reduce injury. Warm up by walking 5-10 minutes and include dynamic stretches such as walking lunges, butt kicks, high knees and toy soldier. End your training properly as well with 5-10 minute of walking to cool your body down.
  • While you are running, be sure you can pass the talk test. You should be able to carry on a conversation. Keep your pace comfortable so you don't burn out to quickly. It's better to run too slow than too fast.
  • Be sure to stay hydrated throughout your run. This is especially important during the warm weather months. The normal amount of water recommended per day is 8 (8 oz) glasses. This increases to between 12 and 16 during warmer weather or increased activity. Refuel the body within 30 minutes of a workout.
  • Find a few friends to run with. Running in a group is a great way to keep all of you motivated.
  • To stay consistent with your running program, try keeping a running journal or log. At the beginning of the week, plot out when you plan to run, for how long and commit to it.
  • Adding strength straining and muscle toning to your fitness program will help build bone density and protect against injury. Strengthening your core muscles will help increase your running speed.
  • Rest is just as important to the body as exercise is. Be sure you are getting plenty of sleep and allowing your body to rest in between workouts.

Safety Tips When Running Outside

One of the advantages of running is that it can be done anywhere. If you run outside, follow these tips to ensure your safety.

  • Choose routes that have sidewalks or a shoulder to give you plenty of space from traffic.
  • Be sure to run facing traffic.
  • Carry a driver’s license or ID and a cell phone.
  • Use crosswalks and follow traffic signals when crossing at street lights.
  • Make eye contact with the driver when stepping in front of a car, even at crosswalks and street lights.
  • Carry a whistle or some sort of alarm.
  • Wear reflective clothing especially at dawn and dusk.
  • Don’t run alone.  Try to run in groups of 3 or more.  If you run alone, let someone know your route and expected return time.
  • Avoid wearing headphones.
  • Leave your wallet and jewelry at home.
  • Don’t use your cell phone or text while running.
  • Always look up, not down at the ground.
  • Be unpredictable - choose a different route and a different time each day.
Running in Cold Weather

Running in Cold Weather

During the cold winter months it is easy to get in a habit of staying indoors and being less active. Finding ways to get moving can be tricky when it’s cold outside, but there are places in your community that you can utilize during the winter such as fitness centers with a track or treadmills.

Benefits to running in the winter:

  • Helps build strong bones - People tend to stay inside during the colder months which affect their vitamin D intake. Vitamin D from sun exposure triggers production in the skin as well as calcium, which keeps our bones strong.
  • Improves mood - Sunlight doesn’t only affect your body, but your mind as well. Taking even a brisk 15-20 minute walk in the winter sunlight can help lift up your mood.
  • Burns calories - Running in the cold weather can help burn extra calories because it makes your body work harder to stay warm.

Take proper precaution during colder temperatures:

  • Dress warmly, but not too warm. Exercise generates a considerable amount of heat, so dress in layers that you can remove as you start to sweat.
  • Wear appropriate gloves, socks and hats.  In the cold, blood flow is concentrated at your body’s core, leaving your hands, feet and head vulnerable.
  • Bring water! The body needs to stay hydrated just as it does in warm weather.
  • Be on the lookout for wet or icy grounds. Running at a slower pace or even walking at times can help you be prepared for any dangerous terrain in your way.
  • A brief warm up inside the house can make your first few minutes of walking in the cold a bit more enjoyable. Put your clothes in the dryer to warm them up before you head outside.
  • Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is damage to the skin caused by extreme cold and warning signs include numbness, loss of feeling or stinging sensation. Hypothermia is when the body temperature reaches an extreme low. Signs of hypothermia can include fatigue, intense shivering, slurred speech, and loss of coordination.