“I don’t run.” Many of us have uttered this statement as definitively as we state our eye colour. It’s as if we feel we either can – or can’t. We fear we’ll hurt our joints or we worry that our legs aren’t strong enough. Besides, many people think that they aren’t the athletic type. Look, I just don’t ‘do’ running!
But what if you could slowly slip running into your agenda, so sneakily that your body didn’t have time to protest? What if you condition your body so gently that before you know it, you can run a couple of kilometres freely and happily? According to internationally syndicated health writer James Fell, it’s possible.
But first, let’s be clear: walking is fine. It’s a terrific way of exercising and for many, it’s been the secret to their weight-loss success. However, if you’re up for the experiment, running does have many additional (and fantastic) benefits.
Burn more calories
You burn many more calories, the faster you go. Think about this: if you walk at four miles an hour, you burn five times as many calories as you do while at rest. Great stuff. But, increase that speed by 50% and you will double the number of calories burned. Now, that’s pretty exciting news.
Reduce your appetite
Running is far different to walking, in regard to appetite. Walking has been proven to increase appetite, yet more intense exercise suppresses your appetite. You need some serious, intense effort to reap the hormonal effect of decreasing your desire for food. Given the weight-loss comes predominantly from your diet, turning on those hormones to better control your calorie intake is just what the doctor ordered!
Effective time management
Running is a brilliant timesaver – it’s quick and efficient and in only a short amount of time you can reap health and weight-loss benefits that would take far longer through other forms of exercise, like walking. (Remember, walking is still good; running is just better).
Are you in? Let’s look at how to do this!
Running may be fast and effective, but when learning how to run, you have to be slow and steady. You must introduce this new activity slowly. There are some people who can’t run, such as those with chronic arthritis or certain types of joint injury, but it’s been proven that running actually protects joints. Your joints won’t wear out if they’re pushed at a reasonable rate. Overdo it though and you could do damage.
Even if you’re fit, running will be a new activity, so throw yourself at it and you could find yourself in a pretty sore state. Instead, start by doing even just 10 or 20 seconds of running at a time: then walk for a minute, and repeat. Fit in brief spurts of running whenever you can. Over the weeks, build it up until you can do a kilometre at a time, building by a quarter of a kilometre per week. Before you know it, you could be running several kilometres per session.
Wear appropriate clothing
There’s nothing more annoying than chafing and itching when running. Gear yourself up with sports leggings, breathable tops and don’t forget to wear appropriate running shoes. Put your kit on, then get out there and walk. Before you know it, you’ll feel like running a few steps.
Believe that you can do it
Put yourself in the mindset that you can do this activity, providing you are not immensely overweight or injured. Just get out there and start walking, and imagine yourself being able to jog, slowly sneaking in a bit more each time.
It really is that easy!
Set yourself a goal – or a race
Setting yourself a goal is a motivating way of ensuring success. Find out if there is a local fun run or low-key charity event you can join in. Having such an event on a definitive date will make you work harder to reach your goals – and before you know it, you could be having a lot of fun while getting great exercise benefits.
Running, as with many intense forms of physical exercise, can do wonders for changing your mental state, too. In fact, running could make you happier and healthier in all sorts of ways. As James Fell says, “It’s changed my life. Running has changed many lives. Let it change yours.”
Sage Institute of Fitness – it’s more than a job, it’s a rewarding career.
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