Top 10 Running Tips for Beginners

Running is one of the most powerful and effective forms of exercise if you’re attempting to improve your cardiovascular health and lose weight. It can add years onto your life, add elasticity to your skin (prevent wrinkles) and keep stress from affecting your day-to-day health.

Beginner runners can improve their muscle strength and protect their body by using the following running tips. Although this type of workout seems like an easy cardio exercise, it does take skill and consistency. By doing it for as little as 10-15 minutes every other day you can improve your lung function and significantly boost the strength of your immune system.  Read on for top 10 running tips for beginners.

Top 10 Running Tips

1. Stretch Pre and After Run

It’s essential that you stretch before and after a run. By stretching beforehand it helps warm-up your muscles and ensures that you don’t pull tissue or a tendon, which can take awhile to heal. Stretching improves blood flow and ensures that your muscles are getting the oxygen they need to obtain nutrients and grow stronger. Increased blood flow also prevents cellulite.

2.  Running Shoes

Wear the right running shoes and buy a new pair every 2-3 months if running is to become consistent part of your workout routine. After awhile they can wear down and no longer provide you with the padding your feet, ankles and legs need. Along with the right running shoes, ensure that you are running on soft surfaces such as on sand, treadmills or on a track. Avoid concrete as often as you can because it makes you more prone to injuries. By stretching afterwards it also delivers more oxygen to your muscles, which helps them heal faster.

3. Correct Posture

In order for you to get a full workout you will need to have the right posture. As you are jogging or running use your entire body instead of just your legs or arms. Lean forward, keep your shoulders back and run off of your toes instead of from ‘heel-to-toe.’ Running off of your heels can cause shin splints, which can be painful and take a couple of months to heal. By using your arms and upper body it will provide you with more momentum.

4. Intense Runs

A shorter and more intense run can burn more calories than an extended jog. Although jogging is equally as beneficial to your cardio health it doesn’t burn as many calories or give your muscles an intense workout. Sprints are effective if you want to gain endurance as well as muscle strength. It’s also powerful if you combine jogging with short sprints – this burns more calories.

5.  Strength Training

Incorporate your run with strength training by taking weights with you or by doing lounges on a staircase. By alternating between the two you can get a full-body workout in 30-60 minutes. Stairs will also improve your muscle tone. With stronger muscles it’s easier to run for long periods. There are Velcro ankle and arm weights that can provide you with more strength training during a cardio workout.

6.  Start Slow

If you are a beginner runner it’s important that you don’t push your body too hard. The lungs and muscles need to adjust to exercise. Start off slow and gradually increase the length of time in which you run. When you can run longer it’s a sign that your stamina and endurance has improved. Pushing your body too hard too quickly can increase the risk of injury.

7. Protein

Before and after running you should eat protein as it will replenish the muscles and make it much easier for them to recover, preventing soreness. Protein shakes also have essential nutrients that muscle tissue needs. This will give you an energy boost and help your body recover. Make sure to avoid protein supplement products that contain chemical ingredients since it can have a negative impact on your hormones.

8. Rest

Rest days are just as important as your work-out days so you should always ensure you are getting enough down-time after exercising. Your muscles need to rest and recover to grow stronger. Try to relax your body after a workout instead of being active. Also, get enough sleep at night to prevent soreness and keep your energy up to avoid skipping a workout.

9. Balance

If you don’t want to lose weight and you are using running as a warm-up activity make sure that the cardio time doesn’t exceed 20 minutes. By running for longer periods of time and not getting enough strength training you may lose muscle and fat. Too much cardio can also be a bad thing, especially if the amount of time exceeds one hour, which can cause you to waste more energy. Balance weights with cardio to get the best fitness results.

10. Control Breathing

The majority of people who start working out make the mistake of breathing through their mouths instead of their nose. By learning how to breathe your nose it will help deliver more oxygen to your brain and body, which is important during any physical activity. When you begin to make it a habit it will benefit your cardio health as well.

By following some of the above running tips, we hope running becomes more enjoyable and easier to help you to get into shape. Remember that posture, padding and how you breathe are just as important as running harder, faster and longer.

It doesn’t take long to become an experienced runner and how much you learn and how quickly depends on how willing you are to make it a consistent part of your training. It’s always best to start off slow and work your way up to being an advanced runner. Every day you can make progress and find routines that work best for you and your body.

When you begin to see progress it will motivate you more to continue pushing yourself. Remember to be versatile in where you run – such as on hills, slopes and stairs. This enables you to work on your glutes, core and leg muscles. Although there isn’t too much to learn there are techniques that make it easier to run more efficiently, lose weight and improve muscle strength. As long as you protect your muscle and bone health it can be an easy and fun experience. Have you found these running tips useful? Share your ow

6 Reasons Why Running Improves Your Mood

What is it that motivates you to exercise and make time for physical activity? Is your reason for fitness to improve your health, boost immunity or revamp muscle strength? While both men and women have their own motivating factors, there’s one that keeps the majority of athletes coming back for more.

Running is an activity that promotes wellbeing; it releases brain chemicals that promote exhilaration and euphoria. Read on for 6 reasons why running improves your mood.

Running Improves Your Mood

With running, there is a feeling of happiness and accomplishment that stems from pushing your mind and body to the limit. Running promotes a feeling of contentment that can last for up to 12 hours, which is why many people grow accustomed to the post-workout ‘release of endorphins.’

1. Running reduces stress

As you perform cardio, your heart rate increases. It promotes the release of norepinephrine, which improves cognitive functioning. The robustness of your mind can be affected if you experience an onset of stressful events, which is why it has the power to boost your level of intelligence. This is a cardio activity that forces the physiological self to push harder. The body can then communicate more effectively than it would normally. Since our hormones are controlled by the brain and nervous system, running promotes exhilaration.

2. Running clears the mind

It is a form of relaxation and meditation. Physical exertion takes the mind away from mental and emotional stress. Exercise requires focus and drive. When you push your body to keep moving forward, it provides you with relief because it takes your concentration off of anxiety and forces you to focus on the physical self. It allows you to fixate your energy on what is happening in the present instead of on the future or past. When the mind is calm it’s easy to think more rationally, make decisions and solve problems. As a result, a calm mind contributes to a happy and relaxed mood.

3. Confidence booster

Any form of exercise can immediately make you feel more confident in yourself. When you feel assured in your physical health it boosts your mood and makes you feel more capable of accomplishing outside goals. It also allows others to notice a change in your physique. When you see improvements in yourself and feel confident, you may be more willing to socialize and take risks. Exercise has the power to improve your relationships and motivate you to further yourself in other areas of life such as in your career. When the foundation of your health and mind strengthens it has a domino effect on all other areas of your life.

4. It’s supplemental oxygen

As our heart rate increases, more oxygen is pumped to the body. By running regularly, the heart becomes more efficient at circulating oxygen so that we can keep pushing and shaping our muscles. It spurs the growth of new blood vessels simultaneously. With an increased amount of oxygen in the body, the brain begins to function at a higher level. This makes you feel more alert and helps you focus on tasks at hand. By regularly working out, the brain adapts to a rush of blood and boosts cell functioning. The brain then releases glutamate and dopamine, which hinders depression and significantly boosts how we feel.

5. Running calms anxiety

Runners’ brains are capable of building new neurons. These neurons then release a neurotransmitter, which helps manage our brain activity. Studies show that runners have fresh brain cells responsible for managing their emotions. To break it down, the hippocampus is much different in the brains of those who exercise versus those who practice a sedentary lifestyle. Strong neurons are more likely to be activated when you are confronted with worry or stress. The hippocampus in athletes who run are less vulnerable to anxiety and stress than individuals who do not make exercise a priority.  

6. Running promotes healthy eating

Many runners feel accomplished after they have pushed their body and mind to the limit. All of this hard work promotes a healthy diet, which contributes to a healthy and fully functioning body. There is a food and mood connection. Healthy meals offer vitamins; minerals and acids that our body needs to manage the nervous system, hormones and the immune system. When you exercise and practice a healthy diet you are also managing a blood sugar level and obtaining more of the antioxidants your body needs to grow healthy and stronger. This produces more serotonin, which is needed to make us feel calm and happy.

Our bodies are sensitive to oxygen and chemical exposure. We experience stress hormones as a result of inactivity, unhealthy foods, worries, frustrations and fatigue. When we do not make an effort to care for our body, it can negatively affect nerve cells, impair memory and cause anxiety. Running produces chemicals that protect the mind from damage, stress and emotional disorders.

The endorphins and euphoria that you feel during and after a cardio workout occur because exercise repairs neuron damage and promotes mental growth, which immediately improves our moods. When we exercise our heart rate increases and the flow of hormones begin to transform. As you stress your physical body, you are building a function that is better at handling mental and emotional conflict. By avoiding physical exertion your body will become more prone to stress and increase your susceptibility toward disease and depression.

The neurotransmitter is responsible for how good we feel and dopamine controls the brain’s reward and pleasure center. Exercise controls these areas as well as antibodies, GABA, endocannaboids and endorphins – all in control of how good we feel. Running is an extremely beneficial form of exercise because it encourages us, strengthens our cardiovascular system and tones all areas of the body. If you have yet to reap the benefits of running or exercising, it’s essential that you see for yourself what positive effect it has on the mind, body and spirit. Has running improved your mood? Share your comments and experiences wit

5 Tips for Distance Running

If you run a lot of miles on a routine basis, it means you love distance running. Read more for 5 tips for distance running.

5 Tips for Distance Running

1. Push yourself

The only person who can motivate you when you are running is you! When you reach the point that you feel like you simply cannot run anymore, ask yourself if you can make it only a few more steps. Use markers found along your route to be your new stopping point. Once you get to the marker, just keeping pushing a little harder until you make it to the next one. If you always push yourself to go further than before, you will be amazed at how quickly you can run longer for. Each extra step is a step in the right direction.

2. Prepare before you run

Make sure you are prepared for a long run before you even leave the house. Your body needs to be hydrated before you start running and you should start drinking water at least two hours before you run. You should also always bring a few extra dollars with you, just in case you need to stop to pick up more water. Dehydration is the quickest way to kill a run. Your body also needs carbohydrates to give you an extra energetic boost during your run. If you run in the morning, whole grain cereal or toast is a great pre-run meal. Your body also needs some form of lean protein to rebuild your muscles as you run. You can increase your distance running by simply making sure you have prepared for it.

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3. Bring a protein bar or nutritional supplement with you

You are burning calories at an extremely fast rate and your body is going to need some type of replenishment. It is always a good idea to carry a protein bar or something like GU to fuel your body. Find a brand that does not melt or get mushy in the heat and that you can break off tiny pieces easily. All you need is a little nibble as you go and it will give you back some of the nutrients that your run is consuming, so that you can push yourself further.

4. Music

The joy of running is significantly enhanced when you have music to motivate you. It is important to find songs that make you want to move faster and push yourself further. There are a lot of great songs out there with inspirational lyrics that will become the anthem for your distance running. Scientific studies have shown that music can change our mood, help us concentrate and increase our pace during exercise. Find music that will motivate you to reach new distances.

5. Believe in yourself

If you believe you can make it further than you can make it further. Just visualize yourself reaching the next mile marker. Once you get there, realize how easy it was to push yourself a few steps further and then aim to go just a little bit more. It ‘s about reaching your potential by gradually increasing your running distance and believing that you will make it before you even get there. Any tips we missed? Share your tips for distance running with us below.