Running has always been my choice for a good cardio workout. I feel like I get my entire body moving, not to mention the delicious endorphins that put me in a state of euphoria, known as “the runner’s high”. I felt great today after completing my 10-mile run.
Running is a great form of exercise for physical and mental wellness. Physically, it is an excellent way to lose weight, build muscle mass and strong bones, when coupled with a healthy diet. It works almost every muscle in your body below your face (unless, of course, you are cringing the whole time!) and gives you maximum return on calories expended (roughly 500/per hour depending on your weight). Running helps to lower blood pressure and improve the elasticity of your blood vessels, including those in your heart. Psychologically, it allows stress reduction, increased happiness, relaxation, and better sleep. It helps you build willpower, perseverence, and consistency in your goal setting – qualities that you can definitely carryover to the rest of your life. You can read more about all the benefits in Chi Running: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running, by Danny and Katherine Dreyer.
Running is also a relatively inexpensive means of exercising. After all, the only thing you need is the beautiful nature outside your door and a pair of sneakers……or do you? The latest hype in the runner’s world is barefoot running, a concept I’m a bit skeptical about. The latest research, conducted by Daniel Lieberman, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard, took a population of runners from the US and Kenya and identified different running patterns. Lieberman and his colleagues found that those people who ran with shoes landed on their heel first, putting a greater load through their bodies, thereby increasing risk of injury. Those that ran barefoot, landed on their mid-forefoot first, allowing for better agility and shock absorbance. I’ve had many people ask me my thoughts on this, and I think more research is needed – especially, to include people like myself, who have no foot arch and, thus, severly pronate (inward-rolling ankles). I don’t think I could run without my orthotics supporting my arch and placing my lower body in adequate biomechanical alignment. For me, I am still able to land on my midfoot by tilting my body slightly forward when I run. I do, however, have friends who have bought the new “barefoot running shoe” and claim it is great. They report a lighter feel to each step, as though they are gliding over the pavement. Bottom line – see if you can borrow a pair of these “barefoot” covers and try them on a treadmill before making the big purchase! Also, you would want to know how much cushion each specific one has, especially if you’re a trail runner.
Shoes or no shoes, I still think running is a wonderful way to build stamina – physically and mentally, on and off the course. I’ll be participating in the Disney Princess 1/2 marathon in Orlando in two weeks. See you there – I’ll be the one with sneakers on!
Deepali’s piece of wellness: whether you run, jog, or walk, fill your wellness quotient by doing at least 30 min of aerobic activity/day. You will reap more benefits than just having a fit body!
Love the post Deepali! Well written!
So proud of you for running 10 miles!! I find that running and yoga are the best forms of working out for me too… maybe we can go on a run together one day?
I’m right there with you, Smita!
Never much of a runner, I do find yoga to be as beneficial mentally as it is physically.
Yoga is definitely up there for me, too. Without a doubt, certainly challenging both mentally and physically.
Good job. I agree we should all be working on fitness.
I’m with you–my fallen arches need support so no
barefoot running for me.
Thanks for your input, Sharon. Yes, those of us with fallen arches need to be extra careful, especially if we’re on our feet most of the day.
The links are great as I could click to find out EXACTLY what you are talking about! 🙂 I didn’t know there was such a thing as barefoot shoes. Interesting. 🙂 I am not much of a runner, but I do a lot of walking with my daughter and my dog. I think it is so important to have comfy shoes. I am not a barefoot kind of girl–even around the house. Great post and I love the inspiration at the end. You are so right! 🙂
Thanks, Margo! It is definitely an interesting shift happening in the running world, isn’t it? I’ll keep you all posted on whether it is sustaining 🙂 Thanks for your input.
Deepali–I love this! thank you! You have actually inspired me to *think* about getting into running again. 🙂 I used to love it and was only a treadmill runner. It was a great way to purify some heavy emotions too!! Now my excuse is that i don’t belong to a gym. But maybe I will put the little one in a stroller and take to the road!!! Thanks for the inspiration Deepali! Can’t wait to hear about your Disney run!! laura
Did Nate tell you that he is a big barefoot runner? He swears by it and ran a Disney half barefoot! I have only tried it on the beach and in the grass. I am too worried about injury to try it on pavement!