The thought of a marathon, half-marathon or even a 5K event can be enough to send novice exercisers running for the couch. But setting running or walking goals isn’t as daunting as it may seem. As a matter of fact, more people are stepping up to the challenge, as there’s been a notable increase in the number of participants in all distance running events.
Researchers also have confirmed that running is one of the best exercises to burn calories and strengthen your cardiovascular system. It can also help lower the risk of diseases including breast cancer, stroke and high blood pressure.
To go the distance, follow these tips from the exercise experts at Life Fitness:
Warm-Up: Stretching prevents muscle tightness and cramps which could plague your workout. Make sure to warm-up the muscles before stretching by walking briskly for five minutes before starting your run.
Start Slow: If you’re new to running, start by walking for 10 minutes followed by running for 2 or 3 minutes; gradually increasing the time you run as you decrease the time you walk. When working out on the treadmill, choose a run/walk program to vary the speed and incline based on your abilities.
Build Each Week: When training for a longer distance, runners should add no more than a 5 percent increase to their distance each week. Add distance for two weeks in a row, then lower the mileage. Varying training will enable your body to recover from the new, longer distances.
Set Mini-Goals: Short-term targets can help with the mental challenges of covering longer distances. Goals when running on a treadmill can be as simple as ‘run until the commercial break’ or ‘walk at an increased speed for three minutes.
Post-Run Stretch:The best stretching comes after you run, when muscles are warm and deeper stretches are possible. This helps runners ease into greater flexibility, making future workouts more comfortable.
Fit Tips are provided by Life Fitness. For more information on Fit Tips and other fitness advice and expertise visit www.lifefitness.com.

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