From Couch Potato to Runner

From Couch Potato to Runner

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Once a coach potato always a couch potato, right? Wrong! Many people have actually traded their sedentary lifestyle for a more active way of living.

You can just flip through the TV channels and you will find many reality shows that where overweight people that haven’t done exercise for a long time, get moving!

I once watched an inspiring documentary/reality show where a bunch of people from different walks of life committed to trade their, not so active, lives by training for the Boston marathon. It was so inspiring, and I found myself cheering for every one of them, even those who didn’t make it. Even making and effort to do something like this gets points in my book.

Many fitness experts agree that running is one of the best exercises you can do to keep in shape (or get in shape for that matter).

Now like all exercise, running has it’s pros and cons: It causes a lot of stain on the knees and leg muscles. When I decided to make and effort, after watching other people run their hearts out on treadmills at the gym, I was instructed to take it easy. The gym instructor, a long time runner herself, told me that I will have to first lose some of my 50 extra pounds or I can end up with a serious injury. So I had to start slow, walk uphill on the treadmill to strengthen my muscles and sweat away on a stationary bike (which I don’t like to do). In the end it all paid off though, and I could eventually start running without any injuries to slow me down or make me quit altogether.

However, once you start to actually run you see other runners all around you. Some of them are in their 60’s and 70’s and they’re still running.

Here’s some tips to make running a lifelong exercise:

  • First, always warm up. This is very important in order to avoid injuries. Walking for 5 minutes or more will do the trick. A few stretches is also a good idea to loosen up your muscles.
  • As I found out, you have to first be able to walk briskly for 30 minutes before you can start running.
  • When you start, just run until you become winded even if it’s just for 15 seconds. Stop and walk briskly again.
  • Start out doing this 3 – 5 times during your exercise. You can do more if you have been exercising regularly.
  • You will already reap the benefit of just doing this routine. In fact, you can get enough exercise to stay healthy by just keeping it up. However, if you have running marathons in mind, you probably want to work at adding on to the time you’re running.
  • A word of caution: Never push yourself too hard. An injury can set you back for months or make you quit all together.
  • Jogging at first is definitely a wise decision. Steadily work up the time you run as well as the speed.
  • Most runners keep mixing it up anyway. You get more benefit from alternating between jogging and sprinting than just maintaining one speed.
  • You will eventually be sprinting, believe it or not. However, patience should be your motto.
  • If you’re getting tired of your routine, mix it up with running on a treadmill or running some hille, both of these actually place less strain on your knees.
  • However, be careful and slow it down while running down the hill. Here’s where your knees can really take a beating.

Now, don’t get me wrong, none of this is easy, but every drop of sweat and tears will be worth it. So get going, girl, make your dream come true!

Author: Heleen Woest
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