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Take a Run at Running

Now that you’re walking for fitness four or five days a week, for 30 minutes or
more each time, and have been doing so for several weeks, you may not feel
very challenged anymore. Your next step, if you’ll pardon the pun, could be to
start running. FitFamilies shows you a safer route to a sure-footed running

If you don’t suffer from arthritis, running can actually improve bone and joint
function. It has also been shown to decrease blood pressure, increase
cardiovascular function and improve aerobic endurance, increase HDL (the
good  one), improve lower body and core muscle strength, improve balance
and give you a great sense of wellbeing. However, if you’re over 40 years old or
have any history of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or osteoarthritis,
be sure your doctor says it’s OK for you to start running. Now, let’s get going:

Get the right shoes
Since this is your only equipment for the sport, be sure you get footwear that is
professionally fitted. Incorrect shoes can lead to problems in your feet, ankles,
knees, hips, lower back and shoulders.

•   Shop at the end of the day when your feet are the most swollen from being
    up and about.
•   You may need to go up a size or more from your normal shoe size to account
    for the swelling that can be common among runners.
•   When trying on shoes, wear the socks you plan to use when you run. Don’t
    have good socks? Ask the shoe salesperson for a recommendation.
•   Bring the pair of shoes you’ve been walking in when you shop for running shoes.
    That will help the salesperson determine the right shoe for you based on your
    pronation, or how your foot rolls when you move.
•   Try on a wide range of brands and styles until you find shoes that feel perfect.

Run with people
Run with people who know how to run or get a running coach to teach you the
proper technique and tips. Look for a running club that assists beginners with
a run/walk program.

Consider your surfaces
Every surface has its pluses and minuses including:

Many consider it ideal, but it’s also a balance challenge because it’s uneven terrain.
If you’re a new runner, wait until you’re more sure on your feet before running on grass.

Running trails
Different than hiking trails which are uneven, these surfaces are often a hard
surface overlaid with dirt and cinder. Contact the local running club to find these
elusive trails.

School tracks
Designed to be less jarring and well graded, tracks are great for short distances,
but you may get bored going in circles for longer runs.

Ideal all-weather running surfaces, but the treadmill also propels you as you run. To
better simulate a free run, set the incline to a 1or 2% grade.

It may be everywhere, but it’s also harder on your joints than running on softer
asphalt. If the road is all you have, look for an asphalt surface instead of concrete.

Listen to Your Body
Warm up
Begin with a brisk walk for 5-10 minutes to get your heart pumping and blood
flowing to your muscles.

Cool down
Allow your heart to gradually return to a slower rate with a 5-10 minute walk.

The time between running, not the running itself, helps your body adapt to the
exercise. Most running coaches recommend no more than 3-4 days of running
per week at most. Mix in cross-training activities like strength training, yoga or
a good walk on non-running days to allow your body to recover and strengthen
in a healthy way.

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