Is running good for you?
The negative opinions and beliefs surrounding jogging may prevent some of us from ever lacing up a pair of running shoes. Before explaining how to fully benefit from the positive effects of running, even if you’ve never jogged before, here are some of the myths surrounding this form of exercise.
3 myths about running
« Running can cause a heart attack »
Cardiovascular exercise has positive effects on all risk factors of cardiovascular disease. When practised regularly, physical activity dilates the arteries and protects against trombosis (blood clot) caused by high cholesterol and sugar levels, therefore reducing the risk of a heart attack.
There is a gap between perceived risk versus actual risk regarding heart attacks during special fitness events such as a marathon or Ironman. Despite the fact that this has occured among athletes, the risk of sudden death caused by heart failure during intense physical effort is extremely low at 1 in 50,000.
« Running can wreak havoc on my joints and my back »
Countless studies have been made on the subjet, as this perception is widespread. The conclusion of several of these studies : The fact of running over long distances for several years has not been associated with premature osteoporosis found in the inferior joints of the body. There is no evidence of accelerated osteoporosis in the knee joints of avid runners. Another study has even determined that joggers who ran more than 9 times per month had a superior bone density than those who ran between 1 and 8 times per month. Physical activity that uses one’s own body weight, such as jogging, can be associated to an increase in bone density.
« Running is too difficult for me »
The most common reason is that the majoriy of people start too quickly. They give it their all, get discouraged, injure themselves, and ultimately give up. The key here is to go about it gradually. The ideal scenario would have you consult a kinesiologist who will allow you to progress at your pace, minimize the risk of injury and have you discover the joy of running. Yeah, it can be fun! 😉 Your personal trainer can also let you know if running is THE best activity for you.
The 10-week Start Running Program
The following outline will give you a pretty good idea on how to proceed should you chose to make running part of your exercise routine. You will understand why runnes are not created overnight! The key words here are…PATIENCE and PERSEVERANCE.
Weeks 1 to 3 : Walk
Start by walking for 15-30 minutes 3 to 4 times a week. Gradually increase the frequencyto 5 times a week and the duration to 45-60 minutes.
Weeks 4 and 5 : Walk and very easy jog
Alternate walking and easy jogging. You should start your runs with a 5 to 10 minute walk, followed by an easy 1 minute jog (30 seconds if it feels too difficult) then walk for 2 minutes, then start the cycle all over again. Practise these intervals for 10 to 15 minutes then cool down by walking for 5 to 10 minutes. Do this 4 times a week.
Weeks 6 and 7 : Walking/jogging intervals
Lengthen your walking/ jogging intervals to 1½ to 2 minutes each. In other words, if you jog for 1½ minutes, walk for 1½ minutes. Do this 4 times a week.
Weeks 8 and 9 : Increased jogging time
Gradually reduce your walking time and increase your jogging time. Jog for 2½ minutes, walk for 1 minute. Then, jog for 3 minutes, walk 30 seconds. Eventually, increase your jogging intervals until you’ve reached 10-minute intervals followed by a 1-minute walk.
Week 10 and more : Nothing but running…almost!
That’s it, you’re off and running! Always start your run with a walking warm-up and do not hesitate to insert a 1-minute walk for every 10-minute jog.
Concerned about staying motivated?
Not a problem when you’re part of a group! Join a running club and benefit from the great advice of a personal trainer specialized in this field. You can also register for a 5km run. This will initiate you to this type of event and can also help you set new objectives.
Toning and stretching : two important elements!
Keep in mind that weight training and stretching are two essential aspects in a running preparation program. They will make the most of your sessions and can reduce the risk of injury. Here are two helpful ideas :
Option 1 : Book an appointment with a personal trainer who will devise a made to measure program according to YOUR fitness level and YOUR objectives. He will also make up a list of stretching exercises that suit your needs.
Option 2 : Obtain a copy of the TONIFICATION DVD – an ideal addition to your running regimen. It offers a 30-minute free weights toning session which targets the muscle groups solicited when jogging (legs and upper body), followed by a 10-minute stretching segment! A pre-run warm-up session is also included.