Running as a sport and for fitness is becoming more and more popular. Studies show that running for even just 10 minutes a day has benefits such as reduced chances of neurological illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, reduced risk of stroke, heart attack, cancer, and cardiovascular illnesses. As such, it is an essential form of exercise to engage in.
If you are new or even a seasoned runner, you might be having questions about this form of physical fitness. What does it need? How does it affect various body parts? I’m not feeling well; can I still run? Well, below, we get to answer these, among other popular questions people ask about running.
Shin splints manifest as pain on the sides of the shins close to the calf muscles and the tibia border. It is one of the most common running-related injuries. In addition, they might cause red patches on the skin area around the areas where you are feeling pain.
According to an orthopedic clinic, you can technically run with shin splints, but it is best not to. When you run with shin splints, the best result would be prolonged injury because you are not allowing the tissues enough time to heal. Other effects would be worse, such as ending up with a complete tibial stress fracture.
If you decide to go ahead and run with shin splints, wrap the legs from above the ankle to below the knee every time you are about to head out for a run. It would also be best to consider running less and instead engage in cross-training activities such as swimming. If you opt first to stop running, which is the advisable option, allow the shins to heal before gradually resuming running.
One of the most common body parts runners complains about experiencing pain is in the knees. It can be worrying when you start experiencing knee pain as a result of running, and one of the dilemmas you are likely to face is the question of; should I stop or continue running with knee pain?
A study in Canada indicates that most individuals, among them healthcare professionals believe that running causes knee pain. Whether you believe this or not, the question of running with knee pain is a vital one, and unfortunately, there is no clear yes or no answer to this.
Ultimately the choice of whether to run with knee pain or not belongs to you. If you are experiencing knee pain, you should see a medical expert for examination, irrespective of whether you will continue running or not. If you opt to continue running with knee pain, reduce your mileage, seek therapeutic guidance, and seek professional help to guide you on changing your running style.
Plantar fasciitis refers to the inflammation of a thick layer located in the foot’s sole, and it can affect any runner.
It is possible to continue running if you have a mild to moderate case of plantar fasciitis. However, it would help if you put extra effort into working on the mobility of your ankle, the strength of your hips, and the tightness of the calves. It is common for the pain to go away after running for the first few minutes for mild cases.
Some valuable tips on running with plantar fasciitis include supporting your feet by having a well-fitting pair of running shoes, using orthotics and tapings, stretching the plantar fascia, ankle, and calf several times daily, warming up before running, and cross-training.
It is also okay to stop running first, especially when the case is severe. During this time, you can seek therapy, engage in stretching exercises, also find appropriate footwear or cross-training activities such as rowing, swimming, or even biking. Once the pain improves, gradually resume running by engaging in less intense activities such as walking and jogging.
This is always an interesting question because, in essence, we all have abs. But what most people mean by getting abs is the toning and strengthening of these abdominal muscles and consequently reducing the surrounding fat, making them much more visible.
Running strengthens and tones various body muscles, including abs. Some of the best running exercises for abs are speed sessions such as sprints and uphill climbing.
But if you want your abs to be more visible, running alone will not do it. It would be best if you combined this with other exercises such as pilates, L-sits, bridges. A diet rich in proteins will also help you achieve this.
Running is an effective way of losing weight, burning body fats, but does it help you lose one of the most notorious body fats- belly fat?
Running alone will not help you burn belly fat. You would need to also make changes in your lifestyle and diet; such are watching your caloric intake, reducing artificial sugars, eating more proteins, etc.
Our bodies are primarily made of what we feed them, so making changes in what goes into the body is one of the most vital steps towards effectively reducing belly fat.
To effectively burn belly fat, you would need to, besides running, engage in cross-training activities such as cycling and swimming and exercises such as vertical leg crunches and exercise ball crunches.
Technically speaking, running will make you skinny. It is a good form of burning fast and losing calories. As a result, your overall body weight is likely to reduce alongside the muscle mass. The resulting effect is that you will most definitely look skinnier.
However, the reality might be different because running alone might not cause significantly noticeable changes in your body. What you eat also plays an important role. It is vital to be sure that your body is being lean and not weakly skinny. If running makes you skinny and weak, you need to improve your eating habits by eating sufficient food potions and a balanced diet.
The direct answer is yes; running can make your butt bigger. However, there are exemption cases. Whether running makes your butt bigger or not depends on your running technique. If not careful, you might end up losing muscle mass while you actually want to lose fat.
If you want your butt to pop, some of the running techniques to employ include running uphill, speed runs such as sprints, running to gain muscles, and running on the sand.
While these techniques are likely to work, you should not expect overnight results. Other exercises that will make your butt grow bigger include lunges, squats, donkey kicks, and fire hydrants.
On the other hand, if you want to run but don’t want your butt to pop, you should avoid the above running techniques.
Running has tons of benefits, but you need to ensure that you start on the right foot if you are new to it. When not done correctly, research shows that you put yourself at the risk of running-related injuries such as shin splints.
Before you start running, gradually introduce your body to this form of fitness by walking often. This will make your body more flexible in preparation for running. The critical gear to buy includes the right pair of running shoes and a sports bra for women. If you have been unwell or have an existing medical condition, see your doctor first for clearance.
Most people looking to stay fit, lose weight, burn belly fat, or even make the butt pop understand that it will take more than running to achieve this. The question which often comes up is what should I start with; running or working out?
The answer to this is not outright, and a recent journal suggests that it doesn’t matter which exercise you start with. While this offers relief to some, it is vital to understand the changes that your body undergoes during different exercises and your ultimate aim for the exercise.
If you want to build muscles, start by running, then proceed to work out. But if you’re going to enhance aerobic capacity and endurance, begin by working out and finish with running.
Yes, running will burn fat. According to research, running burns more calories than most other forms of exercise because it involves different kinds of muscles at a go. As such, more calories are burnt through this exercise.
Low-intensity, slow-paced running takes more time to burn calories. If you are looking for the fastest way of burning fat through running, engage in quick, high-intensity runs. If you are not into fast-paced running, ensure that you run for longer than half an hour.
Because running has many benefits, you might be tempted to run daily, but it is not suitable for your health. It exposes you to the risk of overuse injuries due to excess physical fitness activities and not giving the body time to adjust.
Instead of running daily, have a schedule to do so between three and five times a week. Research conducted in Denmark suggests that the ideal running duration is a maximum of two and a half hours weekly. By doing so, you allow your body enough time to rest and recover. If possible, alternate your running days with other exercises such as cycling and swimming to engage other body muscles.
If you have a mild cold, then it’s okay to run. In fact, running can help relieve some cold symptoms. This happens because running stimulates the release of a natural decongestant known as epinephrine.
When running with a mild cold, go at a slow pace for short distances. Also, be on the lookout for symptoms such as increased heartbeat, extreme sweating, nausea, and dizziness. While doing so, drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration because the combination of the cold and running involves the excretion of body fluids.
During these times of COVID 19, it might also be helpful for you first to ascertain that it is a regular cold and not the COVID infection before you decide to continue running.
Running can make your eggs slim, but this depends on how you run and also what you eat. It can make your legs thinner when your running technique reduces your fat deposits and replaces them with muscles.
A study indicates that running for shorter durations at high intensities leads to muscle build-up, while running for long distances damages the muscles and thus prevents muscle growth. This explains why most long-distance athletes have slim legs.
The best exercises for slim legs involve the lower body, low to moderate cardio exercises, proper resistance training, and eating the right diet.
Depending on how you run, your legs can grow bigger. This is because running involves your butt, calves, hamstrings, and thigh muscles. As such, your legs need to get stronger and consequently more extensive.
The legs can grow bigger because it stresses the muscles, and thus, they tear down. The tiny tears intake the protein you ingest and use it to rebuild the muscles making them more prominent. Even so, different forms of exercise affect the feet muscles differently. For instance, regular running builds muscles more than intense and speed running such as sprinting.
Running can help tone your body, but it all boils down to how you run. While it is effective in burning fats, this is not the same as toning the body.
This exercise alone will not tone your body, at least not to a great extent. For instance, if you are looking to tone your abdominal muscles, running can help you reduce belly fat, but ultimately it will not give you a six-pack.
If you want to tone your body, engage in exercises such as lunges, push-ups, squats, sit-ups, push-ups, jumps, single-leg deadlifts, dumbbell rows, and other exercises for the specific body part you want to tone in addition to running.
Your cadence quantifies the number of steps you take every minute. It could be the total number or the number of steps taken by one foot. This, together with the length of your strides, determines how fast you run. So, what is the ideal cadence?
There is no ideal cadence. It all depends on your running style, strength, and your height. Taller runners often have a lower cadence, while shorter ones have a higher one. A higher cadence might mean that you take shorter, quicker steps which reduces the impact on your muscles while making you a more efficient runner.
If you are looking to improve your running cadence, first train your body to move faster by pacing the feet quicker. Next, learn to move the arms faster to make it easier for you to make faster strides, and lastly, improve your running posture.
When engaging in physical fitness activities such as running, your heart rate increases. The most suitable heart rate for you will depend on your fitness level, the intensity of the runs, age, and other factors such as an existing medical condition.
While there is no universally recommended heart rate for running, you need to know what is too high or too low. When you start running, the minimum range should be 50% of your maximum heart rate. As the workout gets intense, you should aim to get to a maximum of 85% of your maximum heart rate.
In terms of figures, the standard heart rate when resting is between 60 and 100 bpm. This will help you know what your ideal running heart rate ought to be.
Running stride length and cadence determine your running speed. In fact, your running speed is a multiplication of these two. So if you are keen on your running speed, it is a critical aspect to know.
Your ideal running stride will primarily depend on your height, the length of your legs, and whether you are a heel, midfoot, or forefoot striker. The general assumption is that taller people have longer strides and the inverse. But this is not always the case, and as research shows, taller people can have short strides.
Longer strides might make you run faster, but it puts you at the risk of striding, leading to injuries. On the other side, extremely short strides don’t allow your body to have sufficient energy during the swing part of your gait. Consequently, you will not manage to exert enough force for the push-off part, making you end up with a lower forward momentum.
This is probably one of the most popular questions by most runners in this day and age of the COVID – 19 pandemic. We get it; you want to remain fit but still want to protect yourself and those around you.
Generally, it is important to wear a mask whenever you interact with other people, even when it includes running. But if you are going on a solo run and are less likely to interact with other people within the recommended social distancing of a minimum of 6 feet, then you can run without a mask.
When running with a mask, you can choose an elevated training one that has a valve. It allows you to adjust the oxygen levels inside the mask depending on your running needs. Other masks, such as cloth masks, don’t have this feature, meaning that when running, you are likely to be inhaling lesser oxygen levels than the body requires. While it might seem like a negative thing, it actually forces the lungs to work harder, thus strengthening them and the diaphragm too.
Refueling the body after a run is vital; it replenishes what you lost during the exercise. But how soon should you eat after running?
It is best to eat within half an hour to an hour after running. This is because doing so soon helps the body absorb nutrients faster, and your muscles recover sooner. It also keeps your blood sugar levels stable and reduces feelings of hunger and fatigue.
Some of the best fruits to eat after running include bananas, watermelons, and apples. They are nutrient-rich, and some, such as the watermelon, will help with hydration. As for food, you can look for carbohydrate-rich choices for re-energizing the body. Protein-rich foods are also ideal for assisting with the recovery and repair of muscles.
Recovery after any exercise is essential, and stretching is one of the steps towards recovery.
Yes, it would be best if you stretch after running. It not only helps the torn muscles recover faster but also reduces the risk of injury. When done properly, stretching makes the muscles more flexible and enhances mobility. As such, you go on with your daily activities easily with minimal to zero body soreness.
Stretching after running also reduces the risk of muscle tightness, injuries such as tendonitis. Stretches such as hamstring, quad, low lunge, calf, triceps, and butterfly are good options that only take a few minutes. Whether you are a seasoned runner or beginner, stretching after running is vital and should not be ignored.
You should shower after a workout, but you don’t have to, especially if you don’t feel like it and you don’t mind feeling sweaty. But if you are keen on looking clean, then, by all means, go ahead and shower.
It would be best if you waited for half an hour or slightly below before showering after running. Doing so right after running puts you at risk of developing muscles stiffness or increased heartbeat rate.
It is best to use mildly warm water then increase the temperature once your body has relaxed. Towards the end, you should also consider showering in cold water to cool down the body.
There you go! We trust that we have answered your running-related question and while at it, you have learned something extra.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.