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Beginner's Guide to Running

Beginner's Guide to Running

Running is a way of life for many individuals. When others witness just how fit and content some runners seem to be, they may want to follow suit.

Running has many health benefits. In a 2015 study published in Neuropharmacology, researchers discovered that running can cause the same kind of neurochemical adaptations in brain reward pathways as some addictive drugs. Runners can get a happy "high" from the sport. Running also can help a person lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Runner's World magazine indicates that regular running exercise boosts the afterburn, also known as excess post oxygen consumption, or the number of calories one burns after exercise.

Getting started with running is not as simple as lacing up one's sneakers and hitting the road. To be safe, prospective runners can consider these tips.

  • Start with the gear. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes so you can run without discomfort. Choose a running shoe that has support but also at least half an inch of space between the big toe and the end of the shoe to allow for proper foot movement.

  • Start gradually. You may need to walk before you can run, just as babies crawl before they walk. Forget about establishing distance or timed trials. Rather, it's more important to just get outside (or indoors) and run. Matthew Meyer, a certified trainer in New York, says a good beginning running target is 20 minutes, three days a week. Gradually increase the number of days and minutes spent running as you develop endurance.

  • Try running slower. Beginners need to start out slowly to avoid injury. However, running more slowly is effective for seasoned runners as well. Slow miles can help a person enjoy running as a sport.

  • Take more steps. Develop good form to reduce stress on the body. When studying elite runners, most take around 180 steps per minute, which is roughly 30 more steps than amateurs. Short, quick steps mean the feet spend less time in contact with the ground, leading to smaller impacts with each contact. Running in a way that ensures you land on your midfoot with light steps is another technique to consider.

Running is a healthy, beneficial pastime. Getting started requires the right gear and some patience.


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