By: Graciella Davi /IPHA Editor
In the thick of the summer, enjoying the outdoors is (yet) another reason to get into, or get back into fitness. Having an ACTIVE LIFESTYLE is #1 in every wellness how-to article and coaching program- whereby staying in motion positively affects all areas of our health.
Whether you drive through the city or the suburbs, you may get a glimpse of an occasional runner or cyclist at the side of the road, diligently pushing themselves into fantastic shape. The non-active spectator may wonder what it could be like to become that person- and what attracts people to that form of exercise in the first place. The idea of pounding the pavement for miles and miles appears grueling, painful and often lonely - and yet those who are dedicated to distance exertion truly is the wiser in so many ways.
We asked our own PT JOSH (in-house physical therapist) about the mind-set of a health regimen follower after his own presentation on the love for RUNNING. IPHA-NEWS hopes to share PT JOSH's message of getting off the couch, getting in motion and enjoying the running zone.
THE MINDSET OF STAYING IN MOTION:
Written by: "PT JOSH" Schueller
“All body types are beautiful”- Brittney Runs a Marathon. This 2019 films depicts Brittney going through the journey in becoming a runner. Brittney is an out of shape, party girl who decides to improve her health by training for a marathon.
The stereotypical runner is tall, lanky, fit, and attractive striding across the finish line like a gazelle. In reality, this type of runner is in a very small minority. As the quote above suggests “all body types are beautiful” runners come in all shapes, sizes and conditions. Most runners start out in poor shape. My research shows that the average runner can run less than ½ mile prior to starting their training. The misconception is you are born a runner, but most people must become a runner. As cliché as it may sound, taking that first step is the hardest.
Running is an art and a science. The difference between a good run and a terrible run can be razor thin(1). In my research, many factors can determine a good run vs a bad run. Contrary to many beliefs running is 90% mental. A poor mental outlook or self-sabotage can end a training session very quickly (2). Many people quit a running program before it even starts because they do not think they can do it.
COMMON REASONS WHY PEOPLE QUIT RUNNING:
1. Unrealistic expectations —when I started training for my first race, I bought a book on running programs. I am not a prototypical runner by physique. This program set unrealistic training regimens. Running 6 days a week for 5 months was mentally and physically overbearing and I ended up quitting after 3 weeks. Start small. Set achievable goals and expectations.
2. Not enjoying the Journey- make running an escape from your daily life. Just you and the open road or trail.
3. Injuries - to help reduce injuries consult with your doctor, find proper footwear, and listen to your body (4)
4. Weather can affect your runs. In my experience some of the best runs occur during less-than-ideal conditions.
5. Unrealistic goals - Many runners set unrealistic expectations. Running is an individualized journey. Winning a race is not realistic, but finishing a race is the real accomplishment.
BENEFITS OF RUNNING (some may surprise you)
1. Improve health and wellness- this is a common reason people run. Improved heart health and bone density and weight loss in running, 5 to 10 min/day is associated with reduced risks of death from all causes and cardiovascular disease, even at slower pace (3)
2. Improved socialization-whether training with a group or the camaraderie of race day being around like-minded people who know what you are going through can be a enormous advantage.
3. Improved emotional health-1000s of studies have shown a link between improved mental health and running (5)
4. The Great Outdoors-being outside carries a lot of benefits. Most of us sit inside all day long. Many benefits of getting outside such as Vitamin D, better breathing, improved sleep can lead to improved health and wellness. (6)
5. Improve memory-In a recent study running has demonstrated to increase in a protein that suggests a correlation between improved memory and running (7)
STAY THE COURSE
In my experience, some helpful tips to overcome the hurdles of running-
1. Type of surface -Vary the areas you run. Some people prefer treadmills vs outside. Treadmills have never been my preferred training method. Always too easy to stop anytime and if you let your mind wander you may end up falling.
2. Sounds of silence-Find what is best for you to listen to while you run. Many people choose music, podcast, audiobooks, or just silence. Experiment with different ways to entertain yourself
3. Reward yourself. Most runners run because they counterbalance the good with the bad lifestyle habits. Reward yourself after a good run or meeting a goal.
4. A missed run is no biggie. Somedays life just gets in the way so you might not be able to do a long run or any run at all. Tomorrow is a new day. This is your journey.
5. Variety is the spice of life. Varying your distances, speed, surfaces, and locations increases your enjoyment and results.
6. Embrace the suck—some of the best runs are in the worse weather or didn’t have the best motivation to run that day.
Whether it is a 5k, 10K or marathon the atmosphere and excitement of race day can be one of the most rewarding days of your life. The dedication, hard work, perseverance all pays off when you cross the finish line to people cheering you on. So next time life throws you a challenge grab the shoes and let the rubber hit the road and forget about life for a while.
One run can change your day, many runs can change your life!