Please enjoy the following tips from this guest post by Jason Lewis..
Stay Safe With These Healthy Running Tips
There are myriad reasons why people love love running. For some, it’s a social activity, for others it’s reflective, personal time, and for others still, it’s the improvements running gives their self-esteem and confidence.
Most runners, however, run because it’s a great way to stay fit. While there is some impact, running helps you lose weight, improves your endurance, and keeps your whole body healthy. To make the most of these benefits, it’s important to follow best safety practices. The last thing you want is to be injured while trying to stay healthy.
Where To Safely Train In The City
Running in an urban environment is a reality for many runners simply because more people live in cities and urban areas. This sometimes means getting creative with your routes. That doesn’t mean you have to drive out to the country and hit a park trail to find a place to train (although there’s nothing wrong with that either).
Runners are everywhere, which means many people have already mapped out great routes in major cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco and the like. Not only can these routes be a safe way to train in these cities, but these routes offer a chance to explore parks and architecture that you may not be aware of yet.
Of course, you can always plan your own running route. Start by deciding what you want from this route. What kind of surface do you want under your feet? Do you want hills and slopes for strength training, or a flat surface? Once you determine the terrain, experiment by running the route and paying attention to how the route works for you. If you’re not sure where to begin, trying look for pedestrian-friendly routes in your neighborhood.
Playing Nice With Traffic
Training in big cities is problematic because of the traffic. While this obviously includes cars, it also means watching out for other runners, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Running in a big city is worthwhile if you play it smart.
Start by making sure your presence is easily known. Wear reflective, bright clothing to make you more visible. Carry your ID with you at all times. If you are running at night, make sure your route is well lit and has at least some foot traffic. You don’t want to be running down a crowded sidewalk, but you also don’t want to run where there’s no one else around.
When it comes to car traffic, make sure you are always on the lookout. Don’t use headphones to listen to music, since they can keep you from hearing a car coming up behind you. Always run against traffic so you see when cars are turning in front of you.
Fighting Health Risks When Running
Running will help you get healthier, but there are some risks to keep in mind. One of the biggest risks is dehydration. Getting dehydrated can lead to muscle cramps and dizziness. In extreme cases, you can suffer from heat stroke. You can become dehydrated even if you’re running in autumn or winter, so monitor you hydration no matter the season.
A common problem related to dehydration is GI distress. Running too much (and not drinking enough water) can lead to stomach pain. That’s because your body more-or-less gives up on digestion to focus on keeping your muscles working while you run. All the more reason to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water well before you start running, try to drink some while you’re running (if you have a water belt) and drink more water when you finish.
Make Sure You Cross-Train
In order to maximize the effectiveness of your running workouts, it’s important to cross-train. Resistance training is one of the best ways to cross-train, as it helps build muscle. Yoga or pilates are other great options, and these methods allow you to stretch and strengthen your body, and give it a break from the high impact activity of running. Swimming, Crossfit, barre, the possibilities are endless. Find one or two other activities you can enjoy and add them into your routine. If you’re not sure where to start, a personal trainer is a great resource.
Running as a sport is great way to keep on top of your fitness and challenge your body. By planning your route carefully, keeping an eye on traffic, and staying hydrated, you can make the most out of your time on the road.
Author: Jason Lewis (StrongWell.org)