Exercise 101: Running

It might not be the newest exercise phenomenon, but this no-frills type of workout will certainly pay off if you're willing to work at it. Here are tips to help you along.
153574971

153574971

sport shoes running Close-up

Photo by: Buzz Productions

Buzz Productions

It might not be the newest exercise phenomenon, but this no-frills type of workout will certainly pay off if you're willing to work at it. Here are tips to help you along.

Defining Running

The concept is pretty simple: one foot in front of the other. For the best workout, take the time to plan out the "how" and the "where."

Running at a moderate pace will burn somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 calories per hour. Incorporating hills and intervals (short periods of increased speed) will also help maximize the muscles groups you engage and the amount of calories burned during each session.

When running, be mindful of your form and posture. Keep eyes focused out in front of you, not straight down at your feet. Keep your arms slightly bent and hands relaxed to allow for optimal blood flow. Most importantly, don't forget to breathe!

Map out a route in your neighborhood, hit up a local track or running trail, or hop on the nearest treadmill. Be certain about where you're going so you don't have to deal with the unexpected (getting lost doesn’t make for a good workout).

Gear & Gadgets

Invest in a decent pair of sneakers. Instead of going for the trendiest and most expensive brand, go with what feels best on your feet. Proper arch support and good fitting laces are a MUST for happy tootsies during every workout.

As for the gadget department - pedometers, heart rate monitors, or the Nike FuelBand are simple ways to help track your progress.

Diet and Hydration Tips

Running requires ample fuel and fluids, but it's wise to space them out from exercise to avoid feeling weighed down. Easily digestible foods will serve you best prior to a run.  For example, if you run early in the morning have something light beforehand like a piece of fruit, dry cereal, or English muffin with jam. Follow it up with a protein-rich recovery meal after your run.

For hydration, water is always a smart choice. Consider a sports drink when running long distances, especially outside on hot and humid days.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana's full bio »

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