Thursday, April 5, 2012

To Run or Not to Run?

The goals I laid out for myself when I decided to get in shape and make fitness a priority in my life were pretty simple: build muscle, become more toned, and, most of all, be healthier. I've really enjoyed discovering all of the challenges and some immediate benefits of exercise over the last few weeks. The biggest benefits being how much better I feel about myself and the more energy I have. It constantly surprises me how excited I get at the idea of getting to exercise everyday. I am genuinely enjoying it!

The thing I'm most excited about though is running. Mike has been running on and off since high school and I've watched him do it, but I've always been kind of scared of the idea for two reasons: 1. It seemed totally impossible for someone like me to run and 2. I had heard that running was really bad for women. The scariest part being that running could make your uterus fall out! Yikes. Despite those scary possibilities, I had also heard that running was very bad for your knees and joints and could lead to all kinds of health problems. With that in the back of my mind, I took that off the list of possible workouts for me. But then last week Mike started going out and running again. I sat on a bench and watched him run into the distance as I had before and suddenly, with my new found energy and enthusiasm for fitness, I found myself feeling jealous. It looked so satisfying! More so than just lifting weights or taking walks. So, I tried it one day. I only went about 1/4 of a mile or so, but it felt so good! I started thinking about it more seriously during the last week and finally decided to sit down and do some research. Surely it couldn't be that bad for me, could it?

I was very excited to learn that it wouldn't be that bad for me! In fact, running (if done properly and on a regular basis) can actually be better for you than any other form of exercise and is linked to all kinds of health benefits! Women's Health Magazine has a short list on their website to give you just a taste of some of the good things running can do for you. One study, done by the Medical College of Wisconsin, found that running burns more calories than other workouts. Not only that, but running also makes your heart stronger by forcing it to pump more blood, faster. It also strengthens the muscles and ligaments around your joints, which protects them and helps them bring in more nutrients. Other studies have found that runners also have a lower risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and a better immune system. And to top it all off, it can help you live longer than other healthy adults!

So, basically, all of those myths I had heard about running being bad for you were just that--myths. But what about the horrifying tale of your uterus falling out you ask? That was just plain bullshit left over from the Victorian era when women's lady parts were considered to "fragile" for such strenuous activity.

Now that we have that cleared up, I can't wait to start my beginners running routine and challenge myself in a new way! And I plan on tracking and updating my progress on my blog, so keep reading! :)


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