Health and Fitness

Make Running Fun

Dr Izzy - Make Running FunRunning is a fairly inexpensive way to exercise. The best part about running is that it’s a great way to get into shape quickly as well as maintain your fitness. Make running fun by having a running buddy will keep you accountable to your goals. Running with friends is a great way to socialize while exercising, which helps the time passes much faster.

Running has many benefits including improved cardiovascular (heart) health, reduces cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, increases the metabolism, produces an injection boost of endorphins which will make you happy and improves self-esteem too.

How to Make Running Fun

Make running fun by challenging yourself. Try running up hills to increase your heart rate. Running up hills engages muscles resistance; you’ll feel the burn in your calves, quads, hamstring, and glute muscles.

Running down hills can put a lot of strain on your quads leaving your legs feeling like jelly. Running down hill is when most injuries happen. Sometimes it’s better to go a little slower to prevent strains or something worse. Listen to your body, if you feel like you’re building too much momentum, ease back a bit.

Running is a high impact cardio exercise. Some discomfort may occur, like tightness in the tendons, joint pain, and shin splints. Unfortunately, running on softer surfaces doesn’t reduce the impact on your joints and muscles.

Equipment

When running, your most valuable asset is a good pair of shoes. Remember that your shoes are an investment. Choose something that has recommended by an experienced runner or stick to good quality brands like Nike and Reebok. Alternatively, there are a number of sports outlet stores like Athletes Foot which will help select the appropriate footwear for your exercise routine. I recommend having two pairs of shoes and alternating them so that they last longer.

Starting Out

Are you new to running?

Depending on your fitness level, you will experience shortness of breath and tightening of the chest. This will reduce as your fitness improves. Start by running around your the local streets in your neighborhood, or using a treadmill at the gym. It can be challenging when you’re first starting out, so set small goals for yourself. Maybe challenge yourself to running a couple two miles or around the block.

Always warm up before running and cool down after running.  Stretch your muscles for 20 to 30 seconds each  because, if you don’t warm up your muscles before running, you are likely to cause injury. It can take up to five minutes before your muscles are fully ready to run.

If you were to burst into a full speed run, there is a high chance that you’ll cause injury which would take you out of the game for a while. There is no point in doing this as you’ll have to start building up your fitness all over again. Start with slow jog for one or two minutes and gradually increase your speed until you have reached the desired speed that you can maintain comfortably for the set duration.

Remember to make running fun. Try the 3-2-1 method; three minutes of walking, two minutes of jogging, one minute of running, and then repeat as many times as you want. Gradually you’ll be able to run for longer period of time as your stamina improves.

Hydration is so important, so drink plenty of water.

Experienced Runner

If you are a more experienced runner, then you may be looking for new ways to make running fun. Find a local running group and challenge each other to keep things interesting. Healthy competition will help make running fun. There are fun runs, marathons, and iron man challenges held every year in various locations around the world.

About the author

Dr. Izzy