Running or jogging is an excellent form of physical activity. It can help improve cardiovascular health, improve strength and can help keep your weight in check. Many people even find running to be a rejuvenating form of exercise. However, there are certain challenges that all runners or joggers face that can negatively impact the quality of the experience. The good news it that with a few simple tips and techniques, these challenges can be easily overcome. This will allow you to put on your running shoes, tie up your laces, and hit the streets - problem-free. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most common issues that joggers face. We've also included some tips to help you avoid them before going out on your next run:
Encountering sore muscles is something that every new runner will have to face. Running can put a strain on the muscles of the calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. It can leave you feeling stiff and tight afterward. The more experienced at running you become, the more your muscles will adjust and the less pain you will feel. You can also minimize the soreness by stretching your leg muscles before and after your jog. You can also try starting with a brisk walk and working up to a faster pace until you're warmed up.
Obviously, breathing is something that we all do naturally without thinking. But when we run, we have to consciously focus on the rhythm of our breathing. This is to help ensure we get enough oxygen. Without establishing a proper breathing technique, you may become out of breath, feel light-headed or lose energy more quickly than you should. To breathe correctly, make sure that your posture is tall, your shoulders are back, and your chest is open and able to expand. Take deep, even breaths through your mouth that fill up your lungs and diaphragm. This will allow for the most oxygen to enter your body.
Cramps and Side Stitches:
Cramps are extremely common for runners. They can also be can be very painful and can have many different causes including an electrolyte imbalance or improper breathing technique. To prevent them, avoid eating too much up to four hours before going out, maintain a steady pace and be sure to take full, even breaths.
Skin chafing can be a painful but fairly common problem. When clothing continuously rubs against your skin, it can make it red, raw, and highly irritated. Fortunately, wearing the proper clothing can easily prevent skin chafing. Choose a fabric that wicks sweat and moisture away from the skin and make sure that your clothes fit somewhat snugly. This will help to avoid the added friction that can lead to chafing.
Loss of Muscle Mass:
While running is a great way to burn extra calories and lose excess fat, it can also reduce your muscle mass. If you run long distances, you’ll find that the process actually breaks down muscle. Adding a weight-lifting routine to your exercise schedule and consuming an adequate amount of protein will allow you to not only retain the muscle you have but could also help to increase muscle mass.
Any regular, sustained period of exercise will likely increase your appetite. This is especially when you’re just getting started. It's completely normal since you’re burning more calories than your body is used to. However, if this hunger isn't managed correctly, it could lead to unwanted weight gain. Make sure that you fuel your body correctly and eat two to four hours before a run and also immediately afterward. Foods that are high in protein and carbohydrates will fill you up and give your body the energy that it needs to push you through the rest of your day without encountering a mid-day slump.
Lack of Motivation:
Making running or jogging a regular part of your fitness routine takes commitment and dedication. If you find that you sometimes lack the motivation needed to get in a good run, one of the best things you can do is find a workout buddy. Partnering with someone is a commitment that can help give you that extra push you need to get moving on those days and in those moments when it feels like the very last thing you want to do. Remember, your mind sometimes quits before your body does.
Changes in Sleeping Patterns:
Some runners find that the extra cardiovascular activity leaves them feeling tired by the end of the day. Others find themselves with so much extra energy, they can't seem to fall asleep. If falling asleep becomes difficult for you, try to get your run in as early in the day as possible. Exercising too close to bedtime can leave you feeling wide awake. Also, a vigorous running schedule can increase the body's stress hormones. This can leave you feeling jittery and unable to get the rest you need. Try reducing the amount of time you run and take days off in between to give your body a chance to recuperate.
If you’re looking for a great way to burn extra calories and get in shape while spending time outdoors exploring the paths and trails in your neighborhood, jogging is the perfect exercise for you. While running or jogging does come with it’s share of challenges, these can be easily overcome and when the runner's high kicks in, it can leave you feeling on top of the world!
If you’re a looking to start running and need some guidance or if you’re struggling with a running related injury, Physiomed can help. Contact us today and let us show you why, at Physiomed, Healthier Starts Here.