One of the cheapest and most effective forms of exercise is running. Yes, I advise all my clients to run. To speak the truth, if done the right way, running is the best form of exercise.

Let’s consider its merits – running is convenient, cheap and most importantly, non-buddy dependent. Adding on, it is also the perfect cardiovascular workout because you can expect to perspire (a lot) after a run which in turn helps you to burn calories and fat. All you need to invest in is a good pair of running shoes.

But before you put your foot down and start running, here’s a few tips to take note of.

Shoes

I cannot emphasise enough the importance of investing in a good pair of running shoes. According to research done by exercise physiologists, a good shoe supports the foot as it absorbs up to three times your body weight during running. There are many brands of running shoes available in the market but do look for a pair which is light-weight, breathable with built-in cushioning. Do note that running shoes should have more shock-absorbent heels than walking shoes as they allow your foot to move with a controlled, rolling motion from heel to toe. Prices of running shoes vary from brand, range down to the very aesthetic features. All these are secondary compared to how well that pair of running shoes fit your feet.

It is best to keep your running shoes only for running so as not to wear out its soles too quickly. Have another pair of shoes for regular gym use instead.

Socks

For hygienic reasons and to allow your feet to breathe, go for polyester-micro-fibre socks as they are designed to draw moisture away from the skin, thus helping to keep your feet blister-free when active.

Surfaces

Of all the available surfaces, I consider the running track the best of them all as it contains a shock absorbent rubber-asphalt mix. Alternatively, choose to run on the treadmill as you can run anytime regardless of weather conditions. For the more experienced runners who are keen to explore other surfaces, try running on the beach, grass, concrete pavement or even a slope to up the intensity of your cardiovascular workout. Just be careful when running on these uneven surfaces as the risk of injury also increases.

Form

Adopt a comfortable posture while running. This translates into leaning forward from the ankles and not the hips or back. If you have just started your running programme, pay extra attention not to overstretch your stride length and this can tighten your hamstrings and stress your knees. |

Intensity

It is futile if you do not find yourself breaking into a sweat even after five minutes. This means your running is not intensive enough. Push yourself harder. Take this test and say two or three sentences while running without gasping for breath. If you are able to do this, then your running intensity is at a comfortable pace. On the other hand, if you are feeling like you can’t breathe, then adjust the intensity downwards.

Warm Up & Cool Down

Regardless of the distance you intend to run, always warm up by walking or jogging lightly for five to ten minutes. Do the same in reverse after exercise to relax and loosen up. Stretch your muscles while they are still warm, for 15 to 30 seconds each, in particular you quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors and calves.

Happy running!

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A friend called and asked what my schedule for Mar 2010 was like. After hearing nothing was planned yet, she immediately booked me for a fitness workshop on 10 Mar 2010.

This is indeed good news as this will be the second workshop for 2010, the first one likely to be in Jan/Feb. The better news is that there will be about 200 participants for the fitness workshop. Looking at this number alone, I know I will be breaking new grounds again. From a single digit audience to a double digit audience and now a triple digit audience, no wonder my smile these days is truly megawatt in nature :)

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