Running is great exercise, and it has many benefits including an improved mood, better weight maintenance and stronger joints. Unfortunately, many people start running only to stop again a few weeks or months later. They either suffer from injuries because they increase their mileage too quickly, or they don't use strategies to keep themselves motivated to run. If you're thinking of becoming a runner, doing these three things before you hit the road can help increase your chances of sticking with the habit.
Get a Sports Physical
As you run more and more, your joints will adapt to the impact and become stronger. However, when you first start off, running can be pretty hard on your body. Visit a physician who has experience working with athletes to ensure you don't have any health ailments that may keep you from running. Your physician will likely check over your heart and lungs to ensure you're healthy enough to handle this highly aerobic feat and will also make sure you don't have any underlying arthritis or other joint ailments that might make training difficult.
Your physician is unlikely to recommend that you don't run, but if you have certain conditions, he or she may give you advice to make running easier on your body. For example, if you have arthritis in your hips, your doctor may recommend only running on soft surfaces to minimize the impact of running. For more information, contact a business such as Physicians Immediate Care Centers PS.
Buy the Right Shoes
Many runners quit prematurely because they develop injuries like shin splints and runner's knee, and one of the most common causes of injuries is running in the wrong shoes. No, your 6-year-old sneakers that you wear around town will not double as running shoes. Visit a local running store and have a technician fit you for a pair of shoes that's right for your foot shape and running stride, and you stand a much greater chance of staying injury-free.
Find Running Buddies
As you get more into running, you'll want to have buddies with whom you can discuss training plans, race paces, and your ever-increasing appetite. Having this camaraderie will keep you motivated, so you don't end up planted on the couch when the going gets tough. Seek out a running community before or just after you start running. Look for local running clubs in the area, or even find a non-running friend or two to adopt this new habit with you.
If you're able to stick with running for a year or more, it will become a habit you truly enjoy. It's more addictive than you can imagine! However, getting through those first few months can be hard. Following the tips above increases your risk of sticking with running long-term, so you can stay lean, fit and healthy for life.