It’s that time of year again, the holidays. The holidays are full of excitement, extra activity and emotions run high and low. It is also the season of fattening food as there is always a reason to eat in the month of December. It is this time of year I pull out my running shoes and start running again.
The Benefits of Running
Running has many benefits. It does not matter how fast or slow one runs, the benefits to your health are many. The primary benefit is your heart. Take your resting heart rate before starting your running regime by sitting in a chair for a few minutes and then put your fingers to your neck and feel your pulse. Count the beats for 15 seconds, then multiply it by 4. That is your resting heart rate. Take it again 2 weeks after running for at least 3 times per week. It should be a bit slower. Keep taking it and watch how your resting heart rate slows down. That is the most amazing thing running does for your body.
Second, running tones the muscles in your legs, abdomens and arms. One day a woman asked me what the bumps were in my legs. I replied, those are my muscles! A great way to prepare for wearing shorts in summer.
The best part of running is it reduces stress and anxiety. The holidays and just life in general can produce moments of great stress. After an hour of running the endorphins kick in and I feel like I can accomplish anything.
I live in southern California and run on a path with a view of the ocean. You can choose to run almost anywhere. Pick a place with beautiful scenery that maybe you would not ordinarily see or visit if it was not for a run. I personally run without music. It lets my brain focus on the scenery around me. While I am on a run I can mentally work through almost any problem in my life.
One thing that keeps me interested and dedicated to running is to set goals. I will challenge myself and sign up for a run in the future. I then spend time preparing for the run. I do not worry about how I will finish, but rather so that I will finish. As long as I cross the finish line I am happy.
Start small, sign up for a 5k. Once you are comfortable with that, push yourself to something farther. I never thought I would be able to run even a 5k and now I do so much more.
Eating healthy makes running easier, so without trying too hard I tend to naturally eat healthier when I am preparing for a race. I tend to focus on eating small meals several times a day as running can increase your appetite. I eat a lot of protein and fresh fruit and veggies. Protein keeps you full longer than carbs, although carbs are necessary to give you energy.
My next goal is a half marathon in June. Time to start preparing.