Going for a jog every few days is one of the most effective ways to stay in shape. It burns calories, improves all round fitness and is a free alternative to a gym membership. Having said this, if you really want to capitalize on your exercise, you need to bear a few things in mind. In this article we provide 5 tips to help you get the most out of your run.
- Eat a small-medium sized meal an hour before your run
It’s very tempting to get out there on an empty stomach, but this is never a good idea. You need calories to burn; just as a car needs gas. Eat a small meal which is high in carbohydrates to give you the energy you need, but don’t eat too much as this will leave you feeling sluggish and slow you down. Don’t eat anything too fatty as this negates the point of the exercise, but a sensible snack should set you up for the run.
- Stay hydrated
Take a bottle of water or natural fruit juice with you when you go running. You need to keep hydrated throughout otherwise you risk feeling light-headed and getting tired more quickly. If you plan on going for a long run (10+ miles) you might find an energy drink to be more satisfying. Beware though, as these are often loaded with sugar. If you’re running to lose weight, avoid them, but if you’re in training for sport or a marathon, go ahead!
- Add extra resistance
If running is not enough for you, consider adding extra weight to really work your muscles. This can be achieved by running with a rucksack or adding specialist wrist or ankle weights. This added weight is noticeable after only a short distance and will enhance your run. Make sure you don’t load yourself too heavy though, as sustained running with too much weight can be damaging to your joints over time.
- Don’t go crazy on your first run
With the New Year coming around, lots of people are gearing up to get into shape. This is great, and it feels good to be so motivated however, if you kill it on your first run you are going to ache so much the next day that you will instinctively be reluctant to get back out there! Take it easy at first, and build up. Start with a mile-long jog, and look to increase this each time you go out.
- Eat sensibly after your run
There is little point in going running if you call in McDonalds on your way back. A medium sized, healthy meal is ideal after you complete your workout. Meals with oily fish, salad and fruits are always a good idea to maintain a healthy balance, and you should be trying to include this in your diet whether you are an active runner or not.
This is a guest blog post written by Matt, owner of gift search engine Gift Scoop which lists (among many other products) items which can help you to workout in your own home.