You may not feel like exercise is for you out of fear that you’ll sweat your hair out, it’s too cold outside, or your need to take a shower immediately after. For one moment do yourself a favor and put these concerns away, and just let the benefits of running sink in. According to Weil “running is a form of aerobic “cardio” fitness that offers the ability of your heart to pump stronger and more efficiently and your muscles to use oxygen more efficiently.” Running is also excellent for burning fat. In weight loss, the key is to burn more calories than you consume.
Running outside or on a treadmill can help you lose weight. However, there’s a difference in the two as far as energy released (calories burned). Many distance-runners use a treadmill for less stress on the legs. According to Weil (n.d.) “outdoor running burns slightly more calories than treadmill running at the same speed due to lack of air resistance on the treadmill.” Research has found if you set a treadmill at just 1% elevation it will equal things out, and treadmill walking or running will mimic running outside. Running is a good exercise for bones in your legs, knee cartilage and joints, producing superior improvements and health benefits in bone density. According to Hoyle (2014), “Moderate amounts of running provide the most beneficial influence on your bone health, the U.S. Sports Academy reports.” It requires you to pay attention to your form. Here are some things to remember:
- Align your head and spine (look towards the horizon), and keep your body erect to avoid fighting gravity.
- Relax your shoulders
- Stretch your torso to full height for maximum breathing and zero torso strain.
- If your torso and head are properly aligned, your hips (which are close to your center of gravity) will be too.
- Keep your knees low for less energy loss.
- Quicker ankle action increases speed.
- Keep your arms close to the body, only swing low, forward and back. Relax and bend your elbows at 90 degrees. The upper arm should not move much, but allow the lower arm to do most of the work.
- Cup your hands and gently place your thumb on the top half of your index finger.
Also remember to control your breathing when running. For deep breaths lift the chest up and out and fully exhale for increased inhalation. Maintain a consistent rhythm and effort running up hill, shorten your stride and slow down. When running downhill allow gravity to pull down, but maintain control.
Hoyle, M. G. (2014, May 13). Running and Your Bone Density. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/368647-running-your-bone-density/
Thomas, J. (2014, March 13). Is Jogging Bad or Good for Knee Cartilage? Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/532848-is-jogging-bad-or-good-for-knee-cartilage/
Weil, R., MED, CDE (n.d.). Running (Jogging). Retrieved from http://www.medicinenet.com/running/page3.htm
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