Cardio exercise is easily one of the most accessible and simple ways to elevate your heart rate and develop a healthy workout routine. Making running a habitual part of your day has plenty of benefits including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and minimizing the risk of stroke. Unfortunately for many individuals, the myths surrounding running prevents them from investing in the act fully. For example, people think running for health purposes requires hard work, but just 5-10 minutes of moderate work each day can be immensely positive for your overall health. Let’s debunk a few common running myths to make the process more accessible to you.
Warm-Ups and Cool Downs
Easily the most common misconceptions people make about running surrounds how you should warm-up and cool down. Warming up and cooling down are both important aspects of exercise and are preventative measures that help protect your legs from injury. The process of warming up and cooling down however has been conflated over the years and theirs so many conflicting reports on what to do that people can feel overwhelmed before even starting.
Focus your warm-up on dynamic stretches. High knees, butt kicks, striders, shuffling, and walking lunges are all great motions for warming up. Adding a little 20-yard jog in after you complete a set of a dynamic stretch isn’t the worst idea either. Standing stretches are most often reserved for once you’ve finished your exercise. You can also be standing stretch after a warm-up if you’re looking to get a longer run in. However you never want to stretch before doing any activity–make sure your at least a little warm and loose before standing stretches.
Distance vs Effort
A common refrain among runners revolves around the set of miles per week they hope to run. It can feel daunting to hear a runner who discusses running 35 miles a week–when put in such large sums it can seem almost impossible to reach someone who’s struggling to run a mile a day. The thing is, the amount of distance you run is pretty much irrelevant. How hard your working during those miles is far more relevant to how in shape you are. We are all at different fitness levels, so we should gauge our success based on how hard we are working on our own goals: don’t concern yourself with others running or you’ll always be chasing someone else’s goals. Just remember that a hard run at a shorter distance always produces better fitness results than an easy run at greater distances.
Running is Life
Many who love running will perpetuate the notion that running is all you should be focusing on with your fitness. This is just plain false. It is imperative to balance your workout routines so you don’t overstress any individual part of the body. Including weight training in your running produces not only better results as a runner, but is beneficial in protecting your whole body.