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Stress and Running

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You may have already heard of popular stories of casual runners or even marathon joiners who declared that running reduce their stress levels, prompting you to give running a try, too.

Yes, running as well as other forms of physical workouts and exercises can be excellent stress relievers. It can clear your mind. However, do you know that it is possible for you to acquire physical and mental stress too because of running?

No, this should not discourage you from doing your usual runs. As mentioned above, running is an excellent means of relieving stress; but this is true for some cases and not all.

Physical exercises such as running let your body release endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that reduce or minimize stress and pain. In addition to your body releasing endorphins while running, you can also clear your mind. Many runners claim that running helps them form a good decision about work, or even better assess a situation regarding their relationships.

Running also serves as a great distraction from the stress and anxiety brought by a busy day. Because your attention may be focused on other factors while running, such as your speed or rhythm, you may subconsciously forget the worries of the day.

You can also get a good night’s sleep if you’ve had an enjoyable run. While stress and anxiety can make you stay up all night.

However, if you’re experiencing extreme stress, you may want to skip running and re-schedule it for some other time. If your body and mind have been under a lot of mental and physical pressure and you force it to exert even more effort by running, your body will produce Cortisol. Cortisol is an important hormone also known as stress hormone. These hormones are released when a person undergoes a significant amount of stress. Having high amounts of Cortisol can affect a person’s memory as well as fat metabolism. Maintaining high levels of Cortisol for a long period of time can lead to depression.

Therefore, whether or not running can add to your stress or get rid of it is dependent on your current stress levels before you run. If you just have normal, day-to-day stress levels from work, you can use running to your advantage and reduce stress. On the other hand, if you’re extremely stressed out, choose to chill or mellow out for a few days, get enough sleep and rest and just resume running once you are certain your body and mind will be able to handle it.

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Trail Running On Snow

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Trail running is an exciting variation of running. You don’t only get to run freely and live a healthier life, but you get to take pleasure in running with breathtaking sceneries.

However, trail running is a bit more challenging than running on pavements as you will have to navigate, tackle, and go through natural terrains.

If you’re already a trail runner, you know of the challenges of trail running. And if you believe that trail running is difficult, just imagine trail running on icy or snowy grounds.

Trail running on snow or ice can be risky, but doubly challenging and extremely rewarding once you’ve mastered it. Runners practicing trail running during winter are proof and inspiration that you can run and stay fit in any weather.

Winter trail runs can be more enjoyable for some runners since they get to see rare, gorgeous, snowy landscapes that they can’t view on other seasons. Since winter trail running is not something every runner engages in, you can enjoy quieter runs, and you can benefit from the serenity and beauty of having to run in tranquility.

Adequate preparation is imperative for you to have a safe and pleasurable run in the snow. First and foremost, you need to have proper gear and attire so you can outlast the cold. Wear layers of clothes to give your body enough warmth. Choose pants to totally cover up your legs. Wear socks made of wool to keep your feet from getting cold. Don’t forget to bring a windbreaker. Protect your head and your hands from the cold by wearing a hat and winter gloves.

Be more careful in choosing the shoes to wear for trail running in the snow. Choose shoes with excellent, dependable traction so you won’t slip. Alternatively, you may want to go for ice cleats to attach to your shoes instead.

Just like when you run during other seasons, pack some drinks to rehydrate yourself. You may want to bring some light snacks so you have something to eat, too.

Being prepared in terms of gear and attire isn’t enough. You also need to be physically and mentally prepared for what to expect on your trail run.

Running on snow can be dangerous if done hastily. Since snow can be soft, you might want to be a little more careful in your strides so your feet won’t sink in the snow. Icy grounds can be hard, and yes, slippery, so there are instances that you need to slow down in order to avoid slipping and falling. Keep your strides short and light.

Don’t expect to have the same pace and speed as you do when you run on dry seasons. Even if you are an experienced runner, you must understand that snowy trails are more dangerous than dry ones.

Enjoy your run and take your time. Focus more on keeping upright the entire trail run rather than running on faster speeds when you’re trail running during the winter. At the end of the day, safety will always be better than speed.

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Beach Running For Beginners

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If running seems like such an enjoyable exercise, imagine running along the beach with the sound with the waves joining your every stride. Sounds enticing, right? Yes, more than just having a picturesque view while getting fit, beach running has other benefits that might encourage you to try the workout.

Although beach running may appear as a carefree activity, it is not as simple as it appears to be. Proper preparation is necessary to ensure safety while running on the beach. Make sure that you’re ready before going beach running because injuries may result from lack of knowledge on the exercise.

One of the most important matters to consider prior to going to the beach is wearing sunscreen. Ensure that you have adequate protection from the sun since sand reflects rays. Also, be extra careful in choosing the right beach, look for beaches with even surfaces you can run on. Running on sloping, uneven sands can lead to injuries. In choosing a beach, you must also consider cleanliness of the shore–especially if you’re planning to run barefoot. On the other hand, if you’re planning to wear shoes, select a pair you’re most comfortable at and make certain that it fits you well because it is inevitable for sand to get in your shoes. Put on a pair of socks that can protect your feet from sand as well.

Once you’re ready to go beach running, there are some important precautions to keep in mind to minimize the risks of getting injured.

First, especially for beginners, prefer running on wet, firmer sand rather than dry, loose ones. Wet sand is softer than pavement and asphalt so you can still enjoy getting less impact from running. It’s more advisable to start running on wet sand and once you get the hang of it, transition to running on dry sand. Running on soft, loose sand may take some time getting used to since loose sand is too soft to step on and will make your feet sink into it. Thus, running on dry sand without accurate preparation may lead to injuries.

Another important thing to remember is to not expect your speed to be the same as what you have on pavements. Keep in mind that beach running requires more effort because your feet sinks to the sand—and as a result, they have to work twice as hard to propel you forward with every step. Therefore, it will affect your pace. Don’t beat yourself up by trying to achieve the same speed you have on road running too soon. Although beach running may decrease your speed, it works on increasing your leg power and endurance instead.

So, what makes beach running special aside from the breathtaking background? There are some other perks to beach running than the view.

Running on beach burns more calories than running on pavements; because extra effort is necessary for beach running, it can burn more calories than running on hard surfaces. A study published on “European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology” in 1992 revealed that beach running (or walking) burns around 30% more calories than road running.

You can exercise without the worry of abusing your joints. Sand, even wet or dry is softer than roads, pavements, asphalts, or any other concrete surfaces that’s why it has less impact on joints.

 Just like running on pavements, beach running is an excellent means of relieving stress. Additionally, the beautiful view can add to production of happy thoughts.

You can hit two birds with one stone with beach running. You get to enjoy getting fit and at the same time, have a pleasurable experience the ambiance of just being in the beach brings.

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Running: Rewards and Risks

Running is one the most popular forms of aerobic and cardiovascular exercise because of its convenience and accessibility. People of all ages turn to running as their chosen type of workout not only because of its availability but also because of the many benefits running provides.

Regular running can strengthen the heart and lungs. It gets the blood pumping and helps enhance lung function. According to research from Life Sciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, risks of getting heart disease can be reduced by running for even just an hour a week.

Another benefit of running is that it helps get rid of excess fats and helps you have a fitter figure as it helps in burning calories and losing weight.

Endorphins are also released during strenuous running. Running is proven to relieve stress and treat depression as well as other psychological disorders.

Running makes your makes your bones stronger. When you run, your body feels the stress from bending and carrying your body weight. Therefore, it reacts by increasing bone density to strengthen the bones to avoid injury.

Many benefits can be gained from running. However, as the saying goes, “Too much of something is bad”. Although there are many pros from running, there are also some cons from involving in this workout—especially when you take it too far. Long-distance running or participating in marathons has its risks, too.

Exposure to injuries is one of the most common risks of running. Minor injuries and pains such as calluses, foot blisters and muscle cramps are just some of the cons of everyday running. In addition, foot injuries also commonly occur due to wearing improper footwear. Other injuries include ankle sprain, shin splints, and muscle tears.

Overuse muscle injuries also root from running too much. Muscle soreness and inflammation is usually one of the results of excessive running. This condition can lead to serious muscle damage if ignored.

Risk of getting skin cancer due to prolonged exposure to the sun for a long time is also possible. Runners have a higher chance of getting Melanoma, one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer, because of UV exposure.

While it’s true that running can lower the risk of getting heart diseases, it may not be applicable to runners who have a family history of heart ailments. This is especially true for runners who push themselves too hard and do too much too soon. A research conducted in Copenhagen City Heart Study revealed that runners who jog slowly or on an average speed for an hour or two three days a week have a higher risk of surviving. However, runners who try to run more frequently or longer than two and a half hours have a higher risk of mortality.

There will always be pros and cons when engaging in vigorous physical workout like running. Nonetheless, running can still be good for the health if it is done with precaution and moderation. Set limits on what your body can handle.