Running has tremendous benefits for both the soul and the human body. Endurance running makes up a big part of our ancestor’s history and is a popular form of exercise today. Let’s look at the history of running, the benefits of running, and the equipment you need for a safe run.
Why did our ancestors run?
What made our ancestors run? The basic human need for food. Some 2 million years ago, our early ancestors had to hunt for meat, marrow and brain.This, in turn, meant being able to run long distances for prey. Some scientists’ claim that this inherent need to run is how we evolved into the body shape we have today. Unlike the ape-like Australopithecus, we evolved to have longer legs to stride further. We also gained ligaments and foot arches that spring and push off the ground with ease, making it much simpler for us to run, hunt and scavenge. We grew flatter faces and smaller teeth which enabled us to balance our head more easily when running. Our narrower waist and trunk make sure we cooled down efficiently when running (unlike non-upright animals with lots of hair). And our larger buttocks help to stabilize us when we sprint. We may not be able to run faster than lions in speed, but we can run further for longer. Thus we have become the supreme endurance runner. You may be thinking, hell, we go to the supermarket to get our food now, so why should we still be running?
Why should we run?
Today, there are many reasons to run. These include health, fitness and weight loss. You may have personal goals, a fundraising challenge or perhaps the want to try something different. Some run to escape everyday life and maybe, just maybe, because they find it enjoyable. Running is good for you, and once you’re in the zone, it can also give you a natural high. It can help minimise vision loss, reduce blood pressure and strengthen bones. It can also help you sleep better, breathe easier and live longer. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, and it boosts your immune system. Slow running burns more calories than any other exercise. The beauty of running is that it is affordable and can be undertaken both indoors and outside. There are many different ways to incorporate running into your exercise regime for a fit and healthy lifestyle. Run by yourself, run up mountains or run along the seafront. Run with your dog, run on the treadmill, run with your children, run in a group… Get creative and start enjoying the thrill!
What do you need to run?
The number one thing you need for a safe, effective run is the very best in footwear. Here’s a quick guide to get you started on choosing the right trainers. It’s important to get your gait checked and think about what running surface you’ll be on. You’ll need to choose your trainers based on where you’ll be running:
– road-running shoes
– trail-running (off-road) shoes or
– cross-training shoes (for Crossfit and the gym)
You can also have a biomechanical assessment to help you choose the right shoe. This in-depth test will ensure you pick the ideal shoe to protect against injury and give you the perfect fit. If you’re running outdoors, don’t forget to map out your track. If you are wearing headphones make sure you remain aware and always let someone know where you are going. If you are running inside, you’ll want to find the best treadmill under 1000 dollars. Choosing to run on a treadmill means you don’t have to worry about changing weather, safety or having to turn back halfway through your run. A top quality treadmill guarantees a better workout. You will get more programming options and a better motor. If you’ve got to a point where the children are flying the nest, you can even set up a whole room dedicated to a home-gym. Treadmills remain one of the most popular pieces of fitness equipment to buy. They enable you to work out whenever you want to, and you can easily control your pace. Clothes wise, choose items made of wicking fabric or high-tech polyester rather than cotton. You can read my article on the importance of choosing the right active wear here. Don’t forget a water bottle, a running App, a good music playlist and an energy chew to keep you fueled too.
What to do after a run
After your run, you need to hydrate and recharge your body with some carbs and protein. The best things you can eat are bananas, rice, pasta, berries, fish and steak. What a great reward! An energy drink containing electrolytes is the best liquid to consume as it replaces any salt you’ve lost. You also need to stretch out those muscles to help maintain your flexibility and increase your blood flow. Now is the time to make the foam roller your best friend. This affordable piece of equipment enables you to stretch and massage your muscles after a workout, and helps release tension too. Make sure you also get a good night’s rest. This is the time when your muscles repair themselves. The more you run the better you will find you sleep. All these things are critical to a full recovery after a run so don’t miss them out.
Here’s the lowdown
We don’t need to run for the hunt anymore, but that shouldn’t stop us running. If you want to live fit and lean, running is one of the best activities you can take up. If you want a healthier and happier lifestyle, why not give it a go? And if it turns out it’s not for you; there’s always jogging and walking too. There are so many benefits to running, it’s worth being in the race. We may not be as fast as the lion, but the human body has the ability to run for longer, so why not see how far you can go?