Australia / Feature

More benefits to running than you think

Social running
Running is a great social activity for anyone. Image – Monkey Business Images.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA:

So it’s summer and you’ve suddenly realised that those bikinis or board shorts you wore to the Maldives last January aren’t really all that flash hot because alas, they’re hugging a bit too close to your body these days.

With winter behind us in Australia and the summer sun poking its head through the clouds, now is a great opportunity to get outdoors and feel fit and healthy again, with one of the best low cost options available – your legs.

Considered a positive addiction, running and jogging will not only get you losing those kilograms that crept up on you in months past, but also help with your overall health and fitness levels.

Another great thing about running is that it’s incredibly easy and anyone can do it.

You don’t need to worry about hand-eye coordination like you would in a gym class or be concerned you’re moving like a spider on a hotplate in a dance class.

Personal trainer Kristy Bruske from Perth has run the Perth Marathon and said running was the top calorie burner when it comes to improving health quickly and losing weight at speed.

“When I was training for the marathon, I was running over 100-kilometres a week,” she said.

“It’s the best cardiovascular activity you can do because your entire body is on the move – it’s great for the immune system and strengthening muscles for a healthier you.”

When your feet hit the pavement, your legs push your blood up to the heart and back, so your heart works double-time and long-term results see stronger, happier tickers that in turn, will reward you with a longer life.

But you all know that already. Here’s something you may not know – our bones are designed by nature to accommodate strain and all forms of demand, to a limit of course.

When you sit for most of the day, whether it be in an office job or driving or simply watching television, your bones deteriorate and grow weak, leading to higher chances of osteoporosis.

A US study by researchers at the University of Missouri in 2009 discovered that high-impact activities like running have a greater beneficial effect on bone mineral density than resistance training.

And contrary to popular belief, running is great for the knees.

Former president of the WA Marathon Club Evan Kolbe said running is a natural movement for humans and strengthens joints, making it a safe and secure sport.

“I’ve found that bad knees in runners are generally in reference to sideway-motion sorts they’ve done in the past, such as basketball, netball or rugby,” he said.

“Running doesn’t put your body out of sync at all – if anything, it puts everything back into place.”

In the summer months, it’s easy to lose motivation though because of the heat, so the best thing to do is remember all your hard work and keep up with your running appointments.

Mr Kolbe said he booked his run times into his diary so I always had an appointment with his health.

“The great thing about spring and summer is that the days are longer,” he said.

“Women can feel safer running later in the day when there is still light, and another motivational factor is that running in the heat makes weight loss easier.”

Finding a local running group could also be inspirational in continuing your health and fitness goals over the holiday season and Mr Kolbe said if you wanted quicker results, then it’s better to do it in a group setting.

“Running is a sociable sport,” he said.

“It’s significantly easier to do when you’ve got a group that keeps you accountable.”


 

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