Ahh, yes…finally! The temperatures are dropping, the air is crisp and refreshing (not muggy and overbearing), and the golden light of autumn calls your name, beckons you to be outside. The fall is the dream season for Lowcountry runners—including our CEO Lorraine Lutton, who is thankful for refreshing coolness after summer’s humidity. With plenty of fun run events coming up, including several that Roper St. Francis Healthcare is proud to sponsor, it’s a great time to get back in your running stride. Or to find it for the first time if you’re a newbie.
The great news is that you’ll not only get an energy and mood boost, but a huge benefit for your health. Studies have found that jogging—an activity requiring little more than a pair of sneakers—significantly reduces one’s risk of death and may even beat therapy sessions for its mood-boosting properties.
“Running elevates cardiovascular health, improves lung function and immune systems, increases bone density and muscle strength, and burns calories,” confirms Roper St. Francis exercise scientist Amy Levine. “It also helps control stress and decrease symptoms of depression.” Best of all, running or jogging is accessible for almost everyone, Levine adds. “Unless they have orthopaedic limitations, health concerns or don’t have a doctor’s approval, most people can start a running program.” Here are some tips to get you in the running groove.
Set incremental goals. Start slowly if you’re new to the sport or have taken a long hiatus. “A beginner’s goal might be to run a mile without stopping,” Levine says. “Start by jogging at an easy pace with walking breaks, and slowly progress until you’re able to run a whole mile.”
Find your own pace. “Everyone prefers a different running speed, but a good rule of thumb is to go at a pace that allows you to hold a conversation,” Levine notes. “Being completely out of breath is a sign to slow down.” The more you run, the more your personal threshold pace—one that’s challenging but sustainable—will improve.
Be inspired. For many runners, the best part of running isn’t the physical workout or calorie burn (as great as it is!) but the time spent outside, savoring Lowcountry vistas, or the social aspect if you’re lucky enough to have a running buddy (which is also great for accountability and motivation). For others, listing to an upbeat playlist or podcast, or just using the run as a moving meditation turns exercise into a form of inspiration.
Pay attention to form. Runners do need to pay attention to proper form and footwear to avoid injury. And loosening up muscles before running is always recommended. “Walk slowly for five to 10 minutes before starting to run,” says Levine, who also suggests stretching for five to 10 minutes post-run. Good running form means holding your head up and shoulders back to elongate the spine, which allows lungs to fully expand. Also, be sure to keep a tight core which helps with balance and keeps your lower back protected from the pounding.
Once you find your stride, be sure to join the fun at these upcoming running events that Roper St. Francis Healthcare is proud to sponsor.
- Summerville Family YMCA Livestrong 4K & 1 Mile walk/run; November 17, Summerville
- Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble; November 22, downtown Charleston