How to Start Running to Stay Fit

How to Start Running to Stay Fit
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Running is a fantastic workout. It burns fat, improves heart function and strengthens bones.

Yet, that first step out the door in a new pair of running shoes might seem intimidating. It can also cause injury if you’re not properly prepared.

That’s why it’s helpful to know the basics about beginning this more intense exercise routine.

“Too many people get injured running because they throw their sneakers on, walk to the end of the block and start running. The body must be primed and readied for exercise,” said Dr. Russell Camhi, who works in primary sports medicine at Northwell Health Orthopaedic Institute at East Meadow, in New York.

1. The health benefits of running

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Running is credited with offering many positive health outcomes. Any amount of running was associated with a lower risk of early death, according to the Cleveland Clinic, which cited a study that pooled data from 14 other studies.

Running — and all cardiovascular exercise — may also spark growth of nourishing new blood vessels, produce new brain cells, blunt physical and emotional stress, elevate mood and improve cognitive function.

2. How to start running

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Start with a good pair of shoes.

Camhi recommends new runners avoid minimalist shoes because of the potential for poor running mechanics in those just starting out, which can lead to injury.

Choose a name brand shoe and spend about $50 to $100, he suggests.

“There are many ways to enter a running program. If someone has not been running in a long time, then it would be beneficial to start with walk-jog-run intervals,” Camhi said.

Walk a block, jog a block, run a block and repeat several times.

While experts previously thought simple stretching was good to do before running, research has shown a dynamic warmup is better, Camhi said.

3. How to start a consistent running routine

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Cleveland Clinic suggests setting goals and having rewards to stay motivated. Signing up for a race can be motivating for some.

“For those trying to increase their overall distance, I recommend the ‘10% rule,’” Camhi said. “Increase mileage by 10% per week to gradually increase demand on the body.”

Join a training program to build stamina and gradually increase mileage, the Mayo Clinic suggests.

4. The most common running mistakes to avoid

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Improper shoes and bad posture are two big problems, according to Kaiser Permanente.

Choose shoes with good support, suggests a recent HealthDay story that notes a report from Rice University in Houston that found shoes lose 30% to 40% of shock-absorbing ability after 500 miles of use.

Strike with the front of the foot rather than the heel while running to avoid inefficient foot strike, Kaiser Permanente suggests.

For Camhi, running too far, too fast tops the list of potential mistakes.

“Don’t plan your second run two days after your first, as that is when muscle soreness is peaking,” Camhi said. “Start low and go slow is a good motto when it comes to starting a new running program.”

5. Source and more information

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