The Health Benefits of Running

Going for a regular run gives better physical condition and other health benefits. Running also gives physical and mental pleasure.

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF RUNNING

Running on a regular basis give a distinct good effect upon the general health, provided it is not over-done. The effects are:
* Running makes the heart stronger. It increases the capacity of the blood circulation and of the respiratory system.
* It speeds up the digestive system and helps you get rid of digestive trouble.
* It counteracts depression.
* It increases energy levels required to work and lead an active life.
* Running helps you burn fat and therefor helps prevent you becoming over-weight.
* Running will helps maintain the muscles in your legs, hips and back.
* Running helps you achieve a better quality sleep at night.

THE PLEASURE OF RUNNING

Running will give you physical and mental joy, provided you do not over do it. When running is done correctly, you will actually feel less tired when you have finished your run than before you began. You get nice feelings in your muscles during the running and once you have completed your run.

You will feel the wind blowing around your body. You will hear the birds singing, the music of running water in the streams, or the sound of waves dashing towards the seashore. During the Run you will also get a euphoric mental feeling as the world passes you by.

CLOTHES AND SHOES

The type of clothes you were must be suited to the weather conditions. In warm weather, shorts and a t-shirt is enough. However, it may be useful to carry pants in a back-pack, if the weather looks like it may turn bad. In colder weather you must add more layers of clothes to avoid getting sick. In either case, the requirements for the clothes are:

You should use light clothing without any sharp sutures, hard edges or massive folds. They should sit fairly close to your body, but not so close that you feel squeezed, trapped, or so that your movements are hindered.

The clothes should give good ventilation for moisture and sweat and perspiration through the fabric. The fabric should ideally hold water totally out from your body, but this requirement is difficult to achieve while also having good ventilation.

You should use fairly soft shoes, but with a good shape fitting the anatomical shape of your feet so that they do not rub and cause blisters. The soles should easily bend during the normal movements of your feet, but support well against the ground. The underside of the sole should give good friction against any type of surface, so that you do not slide during running. The soles should give you a soft impact when running on all types of surfaces.

RUNNING ROUTES AND SESSIONS

Running may be performed in a lot of ways
* Long distance running 6-20 km in a moderate speed on even roads or paths.
* Short distance running 3-6 km in a high speed.
* Running up steep terrain 3-4 km, in a speed adjusted to the steepness
* Running on hilly terrain with paths going both up and down 4-8 km

It is advisable to vary the type of running from day to day. Then the running gets funnier and you get a variable type of training.

STRETCHING YOUR BODY BEFORE AND AFTER EACH RUNNING SESSION

It is advisable to stretch out both before and after each running session, and not only the muscles in your feet, but your whole body 2 minutes prior and 3-4 minutes after each session. When performing stretches try the following movements:
* Bend down and touch your toes.
* Kneel down on one  knee, and stretch the other leg out backwards.
* Stranding straight bend your body to both sides.
* Stretch out your arm, grab on something, and turn your body round so that your arm is bent backwards.
* Shoot your stomach foreword, so that your spinal column is stretched into a bow.
* Place your hands behind your neck and stretch your arms backwards. Then twist your body to left and right, also bend to each side.

After the running it is sometimes best to wait for some minutes before you stretch out, so that the worst part of the fatigue has gone.

WHEN AND HOW OFTEN

If running is the only sport activity done, a running session every 1-2 days is ideal. This is enough to give all the health benefits and increase your condition and endurance gradually, but without wearing yourself out. If you combine running by other types of sports, 2 times a week will be enough.
You should not be too hungry before Running, but it is not advisable to take a running session straight after a big meal. The time of the day does not matter, but your running should not be the first thing you do in the morning.

HOW TO BEGIN

If you are not accustomed to physical activity before you start going for runs, it is advisable to consult a doctor before you start. You may have health issues that is not compatible with running, or that you must consider before starting to run on a regular basis.

The first times, you should only jog on plain ground and only for 10 minutes. Then you can increase the time, distance and speed, and choose steeper and more difficult paths.

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