In the recent posts we’ve looked at the questions of how often should you run, and should you run every day to meet your health and fitness goals. Before you decide on your schedule and start hitting the trail or track or wherever it is you decide to run (watch for an upcoming post on where you should run), there are a couple of important factors you should consider regarding your physical condition.
1. Do you have any current physical conditions or illness that would prevent you from running every day or even regularly?
This would obviously include anything like muscle, heart, lung, joint, tendon or other issues that present physical challenges to regularly running. Be smart and listen to your body. Even though running is a great way to consistently burn a lot of calories – it does you no good if you damage your body in the process.
If you have something that hurts (beyond just the soreness that comes from exercising and working muscles that aren’t conditioned to working out), be smart and back off. Some people find that running every other day works out just great, but every day tends to bring on joint pain. Running every other day is great – use the in-between days for some type of weight and resistance exercise (a good option we’ll look at in more detail in an upcoming post). In an upcoming post we’ll also look at running when you are sick or have a cold. Of course, it should go without saying that you will want to check with your doctor before jumping into any rigorous physical activity – especially if you have some physical condition or have not been physically fit up to that point. Which leads to the next factor:
2. What kind of fitness or physical condition are you in?
If you have not been exercising regularly and/or are more than a few pounds overweight – it would be wise to check with your doctor before jumping into any type of rigorous physical activity.
You should also realize that you can’t (it is not wise) to try to go from 0-60 overnight; if you haven’t been exercising, don’t embark on a plan of running 5 miles every day; you’re not conditioned for that. In addition, if you’re carrying extra weight you will be placing extra stress and pounding on your hips, knees, joints, and extra exertion on your heart and lungs. As you begin to get more into shape and the pounds begin to drop off you can increase the length, speed, frequency and/or duration of your runs.
Be wise and don’t fall prey to the New Year’s Resolution syndrome: so many people over commit early on to an unsustainable course of action just to quit a week or two later. Take small steps that you can stick with and build on your successes.
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