Running Your Way into Shape

As the downtrodden economy forces us to reign in our spending habits, people are trading in their costly gym memberships for cheaper forms of exercise. Monthly fees are being replaced by good old-fashioned, tried and true techniques for getting in shape. Many people mistakenly believe that the bells and whistles of a gym workout are necessary to accomplishing fitness goals, yet an easy way to get and stay in shape is putting on a pair of old sneakers and pounding the pavement.

If you’re a beginner, learning to run as a form of exercise doesn’t have to be intimidating or daunting. With the right shoes, clothing, and a plan of action, running is an activity that you can ease your way into just as you would increase your time on a treadmill. A good place to start is on easy and flat terrain with plenty of stretching time before and after your run. Bringing along a stopwatch is a great way to time yourself and keep track of your warm-up and cool-down periods. If you can increase your running time a minute or two each time you run, you’ll be well on your way to optimal fitness.

More experienced runners are often faced with the challenge of getting bored with their running routines. After all, there’s only so many times you can loop around a high school track or your neighborhood streets before you get bored of the scenery. It’s a good idea to change up your running routine so that you conquer new territory, climb new hills, and challenge yourself so that fitness does not become a chore. Keeping muscle tone, endurance, and motivation at optimal levels is critical to staying in shape and necessary for experienced runners. Another good way to stay engaged in a running routine is to find a running buddy or two that can keep you company and inspire you on the days you aren’t feeling motivated.

Running is one of the best ways to get your cardio, build muscle tone, improve circulation, increase lung capacity, and keep your heart healthy. Even if you’re only jogging at a snail’s pace, running works your entire body and pumps endorphins into your brain at lightning speed. Committing to a running regimen requires some motivation and discipline, so it’s often helpful to find others who can help you kick-start your routine and monitor your progress. Training with a seasoned pro for a few weeks can give you all the skills you need to create your own running program that works for you.