Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Positive Effects of Running

Regular running can add quality years to your life

Running is one of the best forms of aerobic conditioning for your heart and lungs. It can significantly increase your metabolic rate and the amount of calories you burn, leading to loss of excess body fat. Running is also beneficial for slowing down the aging process. Those who run regularly are less likely to experience bone and muscle loss due to the body’s positive response to additional physical demands.

Running can also have many psychological benefits. Most runners typically report being happier and feeling less stressed from the grind of daily life. Why? Because regular exercise has the ability to alter mood, attributable to a surge in hormones called endorphins. These hormones create a sense of euphoria often referred to as a “runner’s high” and can result in an improvement in mood.

Here are some great tips, courtesy of running coach Chipper Robinson from Running on the Edge in Ramsey, N.J., on how to maximize your running experience:

Incorporate cross training into your running routines. Add weight-lifting, bicycling, yoga, elliptical training, or swimming. Why? They make you fitter and less prone to injury.
Exercise your abdominal muscles almost every day. A strong midsection (core) is a key component to running. In fact, it can often be the single most important factor for success in long-distance running.
Change your intensity levels by running faster or farther. Alternate which one you choose to implement in various workouts. It prevents your body from adapting to routines.
Pay attention to your shoes. Most shoes wear out after 300 to 500 miles. You often can’t see the wear, but, your knees, hips, and back will feel it. Visit a running specialty store for quality shoes and talk to your doctor for suggestions on the best shoes to get. Not just any shoe will do.
Run on different surfaces. See how many different surfaces you can run on in a month: asphalt, gravel, trail, grass, track, treadmill, and beach. Each stresses your leg muscles in a slightly different way, helping to prevent overuse injuries. (If possible, avoid concrete, the hardest and most harmful surface for runners.)
Keep a training journal. A journal can be a great way to maintain motivation and consistency. Keep it filled with running times, routines, motivational quotes, and how your body reacts to various routines. You should have a documented road map for reaching your running goals.
Take some time off. You don’t have to run every day, every week, or even every month (as long as you’re performing other cardiovascular activities). For healthy, consistent training, your body needs regular recovery periods. Performance suffers with too much exercise. Start slow and work your way toward higher mileages and/or more frequency.
Introduce high-intensity interval training into your running routine. Alternate, pace, speed, tempo and rest periods during a single running session. For example, keep a steady pace for a mile and then sprint run for 30 seconds. Do this for several cycles and notice how your heart rate and muscle fatigue threshold increase.

Every great journey starts with a single step; now just put one foot in front of the other to see how far this new journey takes you. Welcome to the wonderful world of running.

August 14, 2010 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reduce Stress – Live to 120!

Too much stress will shorten your life

Too much stress will shorten your life

     With today’s economic gloom we certainly have plenty to worry about.  Mortgage payments, sending the kids to college, layoffs and furloughs continue to loom over us and cause much stress and anxiety.

     During these times of stress our bodies release a host of hormones that can cause our hearts to speed up, our sense to become more alert and our brains to become overall active, especially at night, when we need our sleep.

Find ways to combat stress overload
Find ways to combat stress overload

Our worrying about the future can cause serious health effects upon the body.  The cortisol and adrenaline released during high pressure periods have some disturbing underlying effects.

    Over time the continued flood of stress hormones can wreak havoc on our bodies.  Stress is associated with high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, depression, irritability, insomnia and even a higher susceptibility to heart arrhythmias.

    Studies report that people who are under high levels of stress tend to eat more, exercise less and they make poor food choices.

The answer in combating the negative effects of stress lies with eating well and getting regular aerobic exercise.

    Just 30 to 60 minutes a day, three to four times per week, of exercise can reduce anxiety, release tension and motivate the brain to pump out endorphins, a chemical that creates a sense of well being.

Regular exercise combats the negative effects of stress
Regular exercise combats the negative effects of stress

When you do aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, biking, running or jogging, for 30 minutes or more, your body releases the “feel good hormones” called endorphins.

    Endorphins can relieve pain and improve your mood.  These repetitive types of aerobic exercises that require the same movement over and over again has a calming effect on the body, similar to that of meditation.

    Brisk walking is one of the best exercises for stress relief as it can produce the healthy benefits needed.  Studies have shown that those who walk for an hour and a half, five days per week, at a pace of 4 miles per hour significantly reduced their stress, anxiety and depression than those who walked for just 15 minutes a day.

     Our bodies were meant to last for 120 years, according to scientific research, so we should do everything in our power to help fight against negative effects such as stress.

August 26, 2009 Posted by | Editorial, Health and Fitness | , , , , , | 2 Comments