How many times in life have you promised yourself you were going to start jogging or running, but never started? If you’re anything like me, the answer is, “a lot.” But when the internal call to get off the couch and lace up those running shoes would come, something else would inevitably, and conveniently, pop-up and prevent it from happening.
Finally though, an impending sense of lifelong laziness and overall unhappiness with an unhealthy, unmotivated person got me off the couch. I’ve since slipped into a continuous and pleasurable daily jogging routine that I can’t imagine living without. Here are some tips for those of you out there looking to start an exercise routine of your own that should prevent injury:
Consistency: Perhaps the best way to make a habit of jogging/running is to set aside a daily time, whether it be in the morning, midday, afternoon, or evening; by staying consistent and following a strict schedule, you increase your chances of continued and regular exercise greatly. For me, coming up with a standard jogging routine, consisting of an early morning jog every day at the same time, was key in starting and staying focused and consistent.
Shoes/Accessories: While minimalist running/jogging shoes are all the buzz lately, it’s important that you research and find a shoe that works best for your body. Similarly, if you’ve got knee pain or problems, finding a good knee brace or similar support system can be huge in staying pain and injury-free.
Practicing the proper running stride and technique is also hugely important, and should be another research point or something you ask an expert about.
Properly hydrating hours before a run is hugely important to being comfortable during that run. Running dehydrated is not only dangerous, it can make your stomach ache, cause cramps, and generally turn you off to running before you’ve given it a proper chance. Similarly important is rehydrating after a run to replace all the precious fluids you’ve lost through sweat.
– Stretching: Many people make the common mistake of stretching before they’ve warmed up. Make sure that you warm up for about five minutes by either lightly jogging, running in place, doing jumping jacks, or something similar to loosen your muscles before stretching them out. Avoid over stretching, but make sure you do some solid, relevant stretches before you run to decrease the risk of injury. Stretching after you run or jog is also very important.
Gradually: Many people also make the mistake of starting off too hot out of the gates. If you haven’t run in weeks, months, or even years, it’s very important that you start very slow, with short runs, and gradually build up over time. Starting too aggressive is a sure recipe for injury or extreme muscle discomfort.
I think we can all agree that we wish there was more time in each day for the things we know we should be doing: exercise being one of the big ones. By taking the time to make just a little bit of time each day, and getting into a solid routine with good, safe habits, we can make these wishes a reality. Living a healthier life doesn’t have to be all-consuming; often times, it just takes a little bit of extra effort, and a solid, set routine to get us there.