Tiny Steps Tuesday : Ease into FitnessAn integral part of being healthy is physical fitness. But what if you're new to the game? Starting a fitness routine can be taxing, both physically and mentally, but it'll pay off big in the long term. Of course, be sure that your doctor is aware and in favor of your plans....
Running is what I know. It's what I love. It's been well over two decades since the newbie days, but after taking stock myself, and talking with friends that are newbies themselves, we've come up with seven great tips to help you get started on the right foot! (pun totally intended)
- Equipment : Invest in the right clothing and shoes - this will make your exercise more pleasant and help to prevent injury. A good sports bra, non-chafing outfit, and comfy shoes will mean the difference between keeping at it for ten minutes or an hour. Get fitted at a specialty store, so that you know which shoes to buy for your foot type. You can find good deals at Amazon or RoadRunnerSports.
- Set a realistic goal : Maybe you want to run a marathon....eventually. Start small, with a local 5K. Sign up for it now and start training! Work your way up from there...10K, half-marathon, etc.
- Pace yourself : Warm up with a jog, and then stretch for a bit to get your muscles ready. Start running slowly and build up your speed. If you feel lightheaded or dizzy, stop and go at a slower pace the next time. You will see improvement if you keep it up!
- Food is fuel : You shouldn't starve yourself or stuff yourself. Eat carbohydrates to give you the energy you need for running, and protein to help rebuild muscle afterward. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that because you are running, you can eat whatever you like! Eat healthy foods to fuel your body......you wouldn't put nastiness into your car engine and expect it to run, would you? A great post-run snack bar is the Luna bar, which is high in protein and comes in several flavors.
- Water : When you sweat, electrolytes are lost - so if you're going to be running a very long time, you might consider a sports drink or Nuun tablets. However, if you're going less than an hour, water is crucial and generally all your body needs for replenishment.
- Find the balance : Build your mileage slowly. Start with one mile and work your way up. Sure, you can go brag that you ran ten miles yesterday, but if you can't walk for a week afterwards, you're only hurting yourself. Also, pushing yourself too hard too soon will lead to injury. At the same time, do push yourself. If you don't, you'll never get better.
- Keep it moving : When it's scorching hot or polar cold; when the world is covered in mud; or when you're just not in the mood to run - mix it up. Dance, do yoga, strength train, play active games with the kids....keep your body moving to keep your cardio going!