The pandemic has completely changed our lives and gave us a new way to look at our health. We all have been through various stress levels due to these sudden drastic changes occurring in and around us. While we neglected our physical health for so long, we have started focusing on our mental health too.
Our relationships to physical activity have oriented since the pandemic. Staying healthy and motivated is now our new mantra and here running can be your savior.
People have started embracing running as a new part of their daily routine post the period of Gym closure. Many have even started it for the first time.
The key here is to approach running as a source of joy, instead of a chore that you simply feel you have got to try to do for fitness.
According to experts, we need to incorporate running organically into our routine, warm-up exercises, and picking the right shoes to ensure you avoid injury so that you can stay motivated to keep running regularly beyond the pandemic.
Incorporating running into your exercise regimen comes with a few guidelines:
Do not rush – Start slow
The most common mistake that beginners make is trying too hard, either they run too fast or too far. Experts suggest that running relatively slowly in small bursts and walking the rest of the time is how you should start. You should start running slowly and walk when you feel like it. Your running pace should be that where you are not out of breath. This will build your aerobic base and prepare you for the longer run. Start by running half a mile without walking and gradually increase your speed and the distance covered over time.
Mental benefits of running
Running is highly beneficial to improve your mental health. Running on an everyday basis may help manage symptoms of depression and even protect your brain function. The brain produces more amount of BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) while running which helps in learning, cognitive function, and memory formation. Running will help clear your mind for better learning. When you are stressed, try to reframe the issue in your mind while running, this will help you gain more perspective and allow you to accept the issue as it is. Sometimes your stress will melt away in the miles or give you a small insight into how to proceed. In any case, running will be beneficial for your mental health.
Celebrate your milestones
Set a goal for yourself and try to accomplish it. Never compare your times or distances with someone you know. You may be better than a few or lagging. Remember, this is not a marathon. You are doing it for yourself. Celebrate your milestones, this will give you energy and motivation to tackle other areas of life. Do not get demotivated if you are unable to achieve the goal, remember that this is an investment in yourself for a better future. You can also use an application to track how many miles you have run and at the end of a month, we will be amazed to see how far you’ve run.
Look for inspiration
Sometimes walking alone can be boring. With the ongoing pandemic, we cannot run in a group. Try getting inspiration from your friends, you can join a virtual run club or any group to keep you motivated. You will find various books and videos which inspire you about running. This will enlighten you with the joy of running.
Choose the right place to run
Though this pandemic has restricted our area of access still we can use our brain to figure out a solution. Your residential community or nearby lanes can be a great option even if the parks are closed. A morning run to your grocery store can also be an option. You can run anywhere, you just have to be smart enough to explore new routes and comply with health and safety laws in your area.
Listen to your body and work accordingly
Your running routine should be what works best for you, according to your lifestyle and schedule. Try your routine for a few weeks and you will be able to figure out what works best for you. Gradually, you will start enjoying it. Experiment with different distances, routes, and paces. Never over-push your body, try taking rest days. Always remember the best type of exercise is the one you enjoy and look forward to incorporating into your lifestyle.
Wear a mask or not while running
During the pandemic, there was this conflict of everything you did center around your health being at risk. We all have a common and very important question, is running possible wearing a mask or how to stay safe while running? It is advised not to wear a mask while running. Running wearing a mask is not only uncomfortable but can cause a health hazard. You can simply slow down your speed so that you don’t require as much oxygen.
A good pair of running shoes is very important to prevent injury as it provides our body the support it needs from the physical impact of running. Warming up is another major component of running safety. Experts suggest that you incorporate a “dynamic warmup” that activates your muscles before going on a run. This is important for both experienced and beginners.
Make sure you do some hip extension and simple ankle flexion exercises to as well as core exercises before a run. This is important, because all those muscles will be needed for running.
As the gyms are closed and all other options like swimming and recreational sports are shut down, for the most part, running became an easily accessible, relatively safe option to maintain both our physical and mental health. Running can be performed outside alone without being surrounded by a crowd.
Work and life are stressful even during normal times, and now the stress is a few notches higher. Stress features a way of buildup and lingering throughout the day. so, it is very important to stay positive. This too shall pass.