Running: What It Is, Health Benefits, and Getting Started – Everyday Health

Running: What It Is, Health Benefits, and Getting Started – Everyday Health

Here are answers to some of the most common questions about running:

Do I need to warm up before my run? How?

A good warmup is key for running, according to Romanov. He suggests prepping by doing exercises that mimic running itself, which helps to warm up those muscles and joints. That includes light hops on both legs, single leg hops, walking lunges, and squat jumps.

How many calories does running burn?

The amount depends on factors like your current fitness level, weight, age, and workout intensity, says Morris. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE) Physical Activity Calorie Counter, a 150-pound person running three miles at a 10-minute mile pace would burn about 340 calories.

What muscles do you use for running?

Morris says the primary muscles used during running are the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, calf muscles, and core muscles. Since you need to move your arms and upper body, though, there is some involvement with your shoulders and back muscles.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t try running?

As with any exercise, talk with your doctor before beginning a new routine, says Scott. That’s especially the case if you have cardiovascular issues, joint problems, COPD or other breathing problems, and diabetes. That doesn’t mean you can’t run if you have these conditions, but your healthcare provider may suggest modifications or refer you to physical therapy or rehab specialists who can help you begin with more supervision.

What should I wear when I run?

Always check the weather before you head out, especially if you anticipate larger fluctuations in temperature, humidity, windchill, or precipitation. Dress in layers, suggests Morris, especially in clothes that are moisture wicking, which can draw the sweat away from your body so you don’t get chilled while you run.

What are the most common running injuries and how can I avoid them?

The most frequent injuries, according to Cleveland Clinic are:

  • Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome
  • Runner’s knee
  • Shin splints
  • Stress fracture
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Kneecap pain

To reduce your risk, she suggests following an appropriate training plan, keeping up with strength training, doing proper warmups and cooldowns, and staying nourished and hydrated.

One last tip: Keep a running journal, suggests Scott. Much of what happens with running is individualized, including mood changes, snacks that fuel you up, personal milestones, new goals, and even how you like your running shoes.

To use an apt analogy, think of running as a marathon, not a sprint — as you tweak different components to stay injury free and craving your next run, you’re likely to find it’s an activity that you’ll be happy you started.


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