Recent encouragement to get outside and exercise each day means more people are out walking and running. Hopefully we are all thinking about keeping our distance and going out alone or with a family member only. If you have started running or re-started after a hiatus, you may want to think about how you can gradually ease into it.
Amongst the headlines we are seeing a number of positive stories. These are fuel for hope and keep us going towards a better time, which will come. One of the positive messages from the outset has been the encouragement to take exercise — the benefits are well known (examples below).
- Joint and muscle health
- Better decision making
- Clearer thinking
- Reduced anxiety
- Improved mobility
- Better sleep
- Cardiovascular heath
- Protective against a number of conditions
- Weight control
Being active takes many forms. Two of the most simple are walking and running. We can do this in the house, in the garden, up an down the stairs and around where we live. We can also choose simple exercises using body weight or household items.
Started or starting running?
If you are starting from scratch, you may be best to begin by walking quickly to allow your body and body systems to adapt. There maybe a few aches and pains, which is a typical response to new or different activity.
Casual runners maybe tempted to increase the frequency or the intensity of runs. I’ve seen quite a few people chugging along, panting, puffing and blowing. The 80/20 training rule is a good one to follow — 80% low intensity when you should be able to speak, and 20% high intensity. If you are unsure about how much to push because of known medical conditions or you do not feel confident with what you want to do, you should always take advise from a professional.
Before heading out, easing the body into action with some simple, low strain movements prepare you. Examples include walking on your toes, lunges, squats, and pelvic movements. On return, recovery can include eating and drinking to rehydrate and refuel, together with easy stretches. Much has been written on recovery, but studies have not revealed any particular methods that are musts beyond taking the time to get back to baseline.
There are a number of apps and online resources that give advice on gradually building up your running. A good place to start your reading is Runner’s World.
Enjoy your running and being active
At a time when we are compelled to create a new routine, figuring in movement and exercise will be of great benefit to the way you feel and deal with the situation. Yet we need to be sensible. Gradually building our activity levels to reduce the risk of injury and allowing our bodies to adapt. One of the most important points is that we need to enjoy what we are doing! This way, we will keep it going and build our level of fitness and wellness.