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Run for Your Life

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Run for Your Life

You could look better, feel healthier, improve mood and self-confidence, sleep like a baby, reduce stress levels, boost energy, protect your heart and cardiovascular system, increase bone density, sharpen your vision...and all you need is a pair of running shoes. Sound too good to be true? Not so!

You could look better, feel healthier, improve mood and self-confidence, sleep like a baby, reduce stress levels, boost energy, protect your heart and cardiovascular system, increase bone density, sharpen your vision...and all you need is a pair of running shoes. Sound too good to be true? Not so!

Running is an excellent way to meet the daily requirement of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity recommended by the World Health Organization Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity, and Health.

We all know that we should exercise, yet according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, two-thirds of Canadians are inactive. We have good reasons why we do not exercise: gym fees are too expensive, our muscles hurt, and we risk injury. Some people cannot find the time or energy to run.

Yet running is quick and convenient. You can run from work or from home. By the time you change into and out of your running clothes and shoes and go for a 30-minute run, you will need 45 minutes at the most.

More Reasons to Run

Running is also cheap. You can wear comfortable clothes you already own. All you need to buy is a good pair of running shoes.

Your muscles will be sore at times, but you will learn to love this reminder that you took the time to take care of yourself. Sore muscles subside with time and become negligible as physical fitness improves. Sharp pain, however, can be more serious, and you should postpone running if you experience it.

There is no need to worry about injury if you start slowly and listen to your body. Remember that you are injuring your body every day you do not exercise it. Your cardiovascular system takes a beating and your skeletal system does not get the weight-bearing exercise it needs to deposit calcium in your bones. Your nervous, endocrine, and immune systems also crave exercise.

Get Going

As you begin to run, keep the following in mind:

  • Start slowly. Begin with a few minutes of walking or alternate between intervals of running and walking.
  • Be patient. Exercising will become much easier with time.
  • Stretch. While running will do wonders for your cardiovascular system and increase your strength, it will do little for your flexibility, an equally important component of physical exercise.
  • Focus on running. Do not worry about your speed or distance.

It’s simple: If you exercise you will live better. Not only does running lower blood pressure, it increases self-esteem and has a positive effect on mood. Exercise has countless benefits for physical and emotional health at all ages. Your body needs exercise, so run as if your life depends on it... because it does.

12 Ways to Stay Motivated

  1. You can do it. Do not make excuses.
  2. Always remember that you will feel better after your run.
  3. Run regularly. Do not skip more than two consecutive days.
  4. Vary your running route frequently.
  5. Find a running partner or get a dog (or borrow a dog).
  6. If the weather is bad outside, run inside: Find a track or a treadmill or run stairs.
  7. If you are competitive and want to improve your speed, time yourself while running 15 minutes. Turn around and try to run back in less time. Repeat every week and you will be amazed at your progress.
  8. If you are getting bored, join a running group, run with music, or run up stairs or hills.
  9. Do not be too hard on yourself. It is okay to have slow days.
  10. While running, focus on what you like about the sport: Being outside, taking care of yourself, or the glow you feel afterward.
  11. Adopt the five-minute rule: If you seem to be dragging and do not feel like running, commit to five minutes; if after five minutes of running you do not feel better, walk for the rest of the workout.
  12. If your knees ache, walk instead or take a day off. A joint-support formula containing glucosamine, chondroitin, and methyl sulfonyl methane can also help.
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