Did you know that high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes are the most common conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke? Did you also know that you could minimize that risk just by running? Running has been proven to reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It's also recommended by doctors for people with early signs of high blood pressure and diabetes. Furthermore, running can even help reduce the risk of breast cancer in women. So why are many people reluctant to run?
Running is the simplest forms of exercise that anyone can do as well as one of the cheapest. You can run pretty much anywhere and you decide what time of the day (or night) that you want to run. As far as costs, the most money you would normally spend on running would be for a good pair of running shoes (do NOT just buy a pair of shoes off the shelf...trust me on this). Best of all, unlike many popular fitness trends, you don’t have to pay a monthly membership fee or buy a package to go running.
However, whenever I suggest running as a form of weight loss or for general health improvement, I get 101 excuses why a person can’t run. Believe me, I have heard them all.
“I can’t run.”
"I don't have time to go running."
“My [insert name of body part] hurts when I run.”
“I’m too old to run.”
"I don't have anywhere to go running."
"It's too [insert weather condition] to go running."
“Running makes me sweat and I don’t like to sweat.”
“Running makes my left pinky toe twitch and doesn’t stop until the third Sunday of each month at noon.”
OK, I admit that I made that last one up but you should get the picture. To be fair, some people actually my have a past injury or medical condition which may cause pain/discomfort when they try to go running. That is why it’s always important to consult a physician if you are starting your fitness journey and plan to engage in intense physical activity especially running (disclaimer). Plus, I have never heard of a situation where a doctor has told a person WITHOUT any physical injury NOT to run because it would be bad for their health. Even after a medical issue or physical injury, it’s important to find ways to stay physically active that aren’t overly demanding of the body (walking instead of running for example) to ensure that your heart, lungs, and muscles continue working efficiently.
Yes, when I first started running, my legs hurt. Hell, at times my whole body hurt. Soaking in a warm bathtub with Dr. Teal's Lavender Epsom Salt was the norm for me in the beginning. Guess what? You will probably hurt to when you first start running as I did. Just keeping it real folks. If you're like me, it hurt so much because my body was not used to moving like that being in my early forties and having a sedentary lifestyle with little to no physical activity. As I continued to run on a regular basis as well as making sure that I stretched properly beforehand, my aches and pains became minimal. Not only that but I started to lose weight. My lung function also improved so I wasn’t getting winded walking up stairs. My body did not hurt getting out of bed in the mornings.
Bottom line, running really is incredibly beneficial to your body and you'll find that over time, running can leave you feeling more energized and better able to enjoy a longer, more active life. Running, in addition to small changes in my diet, increased my overall level of physical and mental health. If it can do it for me, it can do it for anyone who is willing to give running a try.
Start running AND keep running!