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Why Running Together is More Beneficial than Running Alone

Why Running Together is More Beneficial than Running Alone

Whether you’ve just got your first running shoes or are a seasoned road pounder, having running partners can do wonders for your running. And while the romanticism of the loneliness of the long distance runner might sound endearing, in time you’ll no doubt find a desire to have some company out there on the road.

But what exactly is a running community…and why should we all want to be part of one?

The Running Community

A loose term that could mean anytime you don’t run alone. It’s about finding a relationship with others, even over the course of one run, that benefits your motivation, goals, and desires for running.

Learning what works for you will also inform what kind of community approach will suit you. Here are some examples to get you started.

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Types of Running Clubs

Highly structured and regular running clubs sit at one end of the spectrum, as well as, the more traditional local athletics clubs, running together has been brought to the masses by organised running groups sponsored by Nike, Lululemon and others (Search for Nike+ or Lululemon Run Clubs for more info).

This way of running allows it to be the glue in an otherwise potentially diverse social group, and often they make space for runners of all experiences. At the other end of the spectrum are innovative online ways of connecting, such as the online communities built around technologies like MapMyRun and GPS watches and other running technology. These allow you to run remotely with others, creating a community across the world to remotely ‘run’ with.

But these are structured and organised approaches. A more informal attitude could be suggesting to a friend to go for a run on a whim, or running over the hill outside your kitchen window with your dog at your heels.

Equally, I know friends who have run marathons, who have been supported through a playlist we made for them as a way to offer encouragement along the route. Finding your way to be supported by running friends and non-running friends alike is a smart way to widen your running support.

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Black and white image of a single runner in the distance stretching his quads and standing on one leg
    Solitude and space are other reasons to go out for a run, but company helps progress like nothing else.

    Why Community Matters

    As with any activity, there are a number of reasons not to go ahead and stubbornly pursue it alone. Motivation is a big one; having someone by your side to push you on, offer advice and give perspective is huge.

    Part of this can even be giving you permission to not run so far or so hard, as they are able to see that, today, maybe a short jog and a long relax on the sofa is most beneficial.

    Making a commitment to run with someone can also act as a huge boost. It can lead us out onto the road on a day we might otherwise have preferred to stay in. Running pals motivate us to go out or keep going, and this support is crucial in making running into what you wish it to be for you. Being able to stick to and believe in steady, gradual progress is another reason to run together.

    I find pacing much harder when I’m on my own. Too often, I am tempted to run like the wind, only to tie myself up with cramp before I’ve hit half the distance I wanted to achieve. Running together helps you to monitor pace, cadence and breathing because there are people around you to refer to. Also, if you run regularly with the same people, you can all support and advise one another on how you are all progressing, and spot when you’re going too hard or slacking off!

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    And this peer advice is the last perk of running together.

    We are all wiser than we might think, and learning that we can offer this advice to others – and then learn from them – helps ground us in our running. It’s often said that we don’t know a subject truly until we’ve learned to teach it. Sharing our knowledge with our running partners, and receiving theirs, in turn, helps create a communal pool of knowledge that benefits everyone.

    Two runners in the distance jog around a field that has recently been ploughed
      A friend gets you out running whatever the season.

      How to Build your Community

      Whichever group suits you, I would encourage you all to start to run with others. Different communities will suit us at different times of your life and types of person, so don’t be disheartened if finding the right way takes a while. Just keep on running as you search!

      One thing we can all do to encourage the running community at large: smile at each other!

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      One of my absolute pet hates is running past another runner, smiling, and receiving nothing but their glare in return. Folks, however fast, far or well we are running, a little smile and generosity offered to someone else who is out there with you goes a long way to building a strong community.

      So next time you run, smile at all your running partners…it makes a huge difference.

      More by this author

      Tom Pritchard

      Copywriter, Proofreader and Storyteller

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      Published on April 12, 2019

      7 Best Weight Loss Supplements That Are Healthy and Effective

      7 Best Weight Loss Supplements That Are Healthy and Effective

      The proceeding article has been written from my own personal experience with weight loss, along with research I’ve personally conducted, and from conversations I’ve held with individuals in the health and wellness space. The below suggestions for supplements are being given under the pretence that you will in fact investigate these substances further to conclude if they make sense for you personally or not.

      I’m a huge proponent of research and information, and also suggest you consider a DNA analysis test such as ones available through companies like Ansestory and 23andme. You can download your raw DNA data, and then upload it to FoundMyFitness Genetics – Genome Analysis Tool by Dr. Rhonda Patrick, or Promethease.

      The purpose of uploading your raw DNA data is in order to gather information pertaining to supplementation, dietary habits, and albeit lifestyle decisions that will be optimal/in accordance with your genealogy. You can then apply this information in your day to day life in order to become the best version of you!

      Before we dive into the list of supplements, ask the following question first:

      Do You Need Supplements?

      The short answer is not really, however as mentioned above, you may want to consider certain supplements by the mere fact that they are suggestible for your gene type.

      An example of this for me personally is a genetic predisposition to Vitamin D deficiency, which came up in my comprehensive DNA report. With this information in mind, I make an active effort to supplement Vitamin D, and get my butt into some sunlight as often as possible!

      So in certain cases supplements may not be totally required, but highly advisable.

      When I began losing weight several years back, many thoughts ran through my mind, from bogus weight loss supplements, to even considering the quick and easy liposuction of 40-50lbs.

      However when I took a moment to listen to my own instinct and intuition, the truth about these ideologies is that they do not solve the root of the problem – lifestyle choices.

      My general opinion on supplementation for weight loss is that one need not focus on substances or external things in order to achieve weight loss.

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      When I was losing weight, after having gained it through silly lifestyle choices (to keep things short), my focus was not on supplements but on the consistent effort towards maximal weight loss and fat loss.

      In order to maximize weight/fat loss — I’ve discussed many times over the importance of incorporating Intermittent Fasting (Time-Restricted Eating), in conjunction with high activity levels throughout the week.

      Simply put, you need to consider how you structure your eating, as well as the amount of exercise, effort, and overall exertion – leading to daily caloric expenditure.

      Get yourself in a healthy caloric deficit, not by starving yourself, but by exercising, eating healthy and within a Time-Restricted “eating window”.

      7 Supplements To Consider for Weight Loss

      1. Caffeine or Green Tea/Extract (Matcha)

      This is one of the quickest and most easily accessible supplements for weight loss.

      Caffeine can boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning. However, people become tolerant to the effects, and as such its impact will slowly diminish.

      Matcha is derived from the same plant as Green Tea – Camellia sinensis. Matcha tea is low in calories, and high in antioxidants such as Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). Scientists at the University of Colorado found that the EGCG content in matcha is 137 times more than Chinese green tea. These antioxidants can help flush out toxins, boost immunity, and reduce the body’s inflammation, which helps prevent weight gain and accelerates weight loss.

      Matcha can boost metabolism and aid in fat burning while also balancing blood glucose levels.

      2. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

      Your body naturally produces alpha-lipoic acid, but it’s also found in a variety of foods and as a dietary supplement typically in pill form.

      ALA is an organic compound found in all human cells, made inside the mitochondria – where it helps enzymes turn nutrients into energy. Some research suggests that it may play a roll in weight loss, diabetes and more. There have also been antioxidant properties associated with ALA such as the ability to lower blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, reduce skin ageing, and improve nerve function.

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      You can obtain ALA without supplementation from animal products such as red meat and organ meats, along with plant foods like broccoli, tomatoes, spinach and Brussels sprouts.

      Animal studies have indicated that ALA can reduce the activity of the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), located in your brain’s hypothalamus. Meanwhile, human studies conducted showed that alpha-lipoic acid has only a slight impact on weight loss. An analysis of 12 studies discovered that people who took an alpha-lipoic acid supplement lost an average of 1.52 pounds (0.69 kg) more than those taking a placebo over an average of 14 weeks.

      Personally I use ALA on and off when I’m looking to cut weight.

      3. Glutamine

      Generally speaking, Glutamine is beneficial because it improves the maintenance of muscle mass, which in turn helps burn more fat.

      By introducing Glutamine to your diet it will also yield anti-inflammatory benefits and help reduce cravings for high-glycemic carbohydrates.

      Foods that are high in glutamine include meat, seafood, milk, nuts, eggs, cabbage and beans.[1]

      4. Krill Oil

      High in omega-3 fatty acids, which yields various health benefits, including improved heart and brain health, a reduced risk of depression and even healthier skin.

      Researchers have suggested that fish oil omega-3s may help people lose weight more easily.

      Studies have concluded that while both fish-sourced and krill-sourced omega-3 fats are effective in reducing fat levels, krill is more effective. The mechanisms of how this is so had not been made clear in the study, but suggested long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) can reduce activity in the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system consists of a group of neuromodulatory lipids and receptors that influence appetite, pain sensation, mood and memory.

      Researchers found that, when parameters associated with obesity were considered, krill oil reduced heart fat levels in rats by 42 percent, compared to 2 percent for fish oils.

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      I personally shifted from Alaskan Wild Salmon fish oils to Krill Oil due to the fact that it’s more potent and overall more effective, though the cost of the supplement is slightly more.

      5. Apple Cider Vinegar

      Many would note that apple cider vinegar is a low calorie drink; however, my focus on noting this supplement is relating to suppressing fat accumulation which was found in animal studies.

      A team of researchers also investigated the effects on obese Japanese in a double-blind trial. Daily intake of apple cider vinegar may be practical in the prevention of metabolic syndrome by reducing obesity.

      Additionally, some studies suggest that apple cider vinegar helps stabilise blood sugar levels, and primarily after consuming a high carbohydrate meal.

      There’s many other benefits of apple cider vinegar to note, however they don’t directly correlate with weight loss, so for now I’ll leave them unmentioned, but encourage you look further into this powerful supplement.

      6. L-Carnitine

      This supplement is a bit speculative, and I haven’t had too much personal experience with it, thus it’s towards the bottom of the list.

      L-Carnitine plays a crucial role in the production of energy by transporting fatty acids into your cells’ mitochondria – which acts as engines within your cells, burning fats to create usable energy. This helps move more fatty acids into your cells to be burned for energy, so it’s suggested this would increase the ability to burn fat and thus lose weight. However, results of both human and animal studies are mixed in this case.

      This is one of those supplements that may work for one person, but not another, and it’s highly discussed and debated in the bodybuilding and fat loss community.

      I suggest you look further into L-Carnitine, and perhaps experiment on a trial to see if you notice any improvements in weight loss and fat reduction.

      7. Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) [Bonus]

      CLA is a naturally occurring fatty acid found in meat and dairy products. This supplement is gaining popularity and has become widely regarded as a contender for the weight-loss miracle pill.

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      Though I personally do not think such a magic pill exists, it’s certainly fun to throw around the term ‘miracle’ and generates a lot of buzz in doing so.

      During a trial, one group of overweight women lost 9% body fat in one year’s time without any adjustments in lifestyle or eating habits.

      Now, don’t take this as a suggestion to not improve lifestyle, as I introduced this article with the pretence that it’s the most important aspect of losing weight.

      In a few small animal studies, CLA has been shown to prevent heart disease and several types of cancer, while appearing to enhance the immune system. Human studies are not as conclusive as they used body fat scales (such as DEXA – Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) to measure improvements, which are inherently not that accurate.

      This is another one of those supplements I suggest researching further, and trialling in conjunction with lifestyle adjustments to see if it works for you.

      The Bottom Line

      Once again I can’t stress enough that merely supplementing for weight loss will not yield exponential results – you must exercise, move your body, and I highly advise introducing Intermittent Fasting/Time-Restricted Eating if you haven’t already done so.

      Please research more into these supplements to determine if they make sense for you. And I don’t suggest using all at once as you won’t be able to accurately gauge which are most effective – cycle through them by taking one, two, upwards of 3 supplements at any given time. If you want to experiment, then switch after a couple months of use.

      I wish you the best of luck with your weight loss journey and if would like to learn more about the above supplements, take a look at my video here:

      Featured photo credit: bruce mars via unsplash.com

      Reference

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