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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

11 Greatest Running Tips And Tricks

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11 Greatest Running Tips And Tricks

Running is the new thing. People who never dreamed they would be runners are hammering out 5Ks and training for half-marathons. I am included in this recent running phenomenon. I could never run the full-mile test in gym class, but in the past couple of years I caught the running bug. I have learned a few running tips since I started. You might want to check these out if you are beginning to run yourself.

Running Tip #1: Safety first.

Make sure to check with your doctor if you have any medical conditions that might prevent you from running safely.

Running Tip #2: Get some quality running shoes.

Nothing is worse than shin splints. Shin splints tend to happen when you do not have proper running shoes. You will probably already be sore starting a new exercise, but you do not want to add insult to injury by lacing up with the wrong footwear.

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Running Tip #3: Start slow.

There is no need to try to run 10 miles on your first run. Try the five on, five off method. Run for five minutes and walk for five minutes, for a total of 30 minutes. After a couple of weeks, you can slowly increase the running time and decrease the walking time.

Running Tip #4: Know that it is okay to walk.

It drives me nuts when new runners have a goal of “running x miles without stopping.” What they mean is, they don’t want to “stop” and walk during their run. The thing is, it is completely okay to walk. During the half-marathon I ran in May, I walked all of the water stations and I was glad I did. Walking during your running allows your body to take a small break and build up energy for your muscles to use while running. This method helps to prevent injuries that can easily occur while running long distances.

Running Tip #5: Sign up for a race.

There is nothing more motivating than a race. When you know that you have already spent the money and will have to be able to physically run x number of miles on that day, it is easier to get out the door and complete your training.

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Running Tip #6: Be sure to keep up with your strength-training and cross-training.

If you only perform one exercise over and over and over, the muscles you are not using, the supporting muscles, will become weak. These weakened muscles that are needed to support the main running muscles leave you wide open for injury. Get in strength-training sessions twice a week. Also make sure to do cross-training such as biking, stairs, or elliptical training once or twice a week to prevent injury.

Running Tip #7: Design a training plan.

If you are signed up for a race, you will need a plan. You have to run, strength-train, cross-train and have rest days each week, so it is best to come up with a way to accomplish all of this. I have always used Hal Higdon training plans since they are designed by experts. You can print them out and check off each day or even download them to your phone. They even have running training apps you can download to your phone.

Running Tip #8: Figure out your proper fueling.

Every body is different. Some runners are not able to eat certain foods right before running, while others have iron stomachs that never get sick. A basic rule of thumb is to eat something with carbohydrates an hour before running (it can even be a meal if you can stomach it), then eat more carbohydrates plus protein to replenish the energy lost when running within 30 minutes of finishing your run. When you are running for over an hour, you should consider taking Gatorade or something similar to replenish the sodium and potassium lost through sweat. If you are running over 90 minutes, it is time to consider refueling with a mixture of carbohydrates, sodium and potassium.

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Running Tip #9: Hydrate properly.

This is another one where it depends on your body. Most bodies require hydration every 30 minutes of exercise. Hydration during running also depends on the weather. Is it dry? Is it humid? Are you sweating like a maniac upon walking out your front door? I always have water with me and take small sips when I feel thirsty to ensure I do not get dehydrated.

Running Tip #10: Listen to your body.

If you are so sore you can hardly walk, maybe sit it out for a day or two. If you feel like you can run a little further than you planned, try it out! That is part of the fun of running—testing yourself.

Running Tip #11: Lastly, have fun.

It is hard to get motivated to exercise when you are not enjoying it. Figure out the way you enjoy running the most and stick with it. If you hit a running rut, try running with a friend, alternating between the treadmill and the outdoors, find a new trail, or even take a break to come back refreshed. The bottom line is: you do not have to run. You should exercise the way you like and the way that is safe for you. If running proves to be your choice of exercise, then join the club and run your heart out!

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Featured photo credit: Capstone Events via unsplash.com

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Amanda DeWitt

Writer. Photographer. Instagrammer. Future Educator.

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Last Updated on October 4, 2021

5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

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5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

With the lines of work and home becoming increasingly blurry, it’s no wonder why we struggle to find the time to prioritize our health. Particularly with weight loss, it’s often difficult to manage the ever-present constraints around work, children, time to exercise, and the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day.

Taking the effects of stress and the rise of remote work and work-from-home situations, we need to be far more tactical in our weight loss pursuits. Quite often, these exercises for weight loss at home aren’t even fitness-related.

Firstly, let’s look at a standard day in the life of a busy professional or parent to really understand the battlefield in which we need to operate.

We all have 24 hours in a day to work with. Knowing how we spend that 24 hours is crucial when learning where time will be best spent for our weight loss journey. Setting unrealistic expectations can be a quick way to end up back at square one.

  • Sleep: 8 hours (parents, if you’re lucky)
  • Work: 8 hours (sometimes more)
  • Children: 2 to 4 hours (includes pickups, drop-offs, and play)
  • Meal Preparation: 1 hour (at a minimum)
  • Household Activities: 1 to 2 hours (because someone’s got to do it, right?)
  • Total: 20 to 22 hours

Taking into account that switching between tasks takes time and cognitive space, we can start to understand why people just want to sit and scroll through social media at the end of a day. We also haven’t factored in the work commute if you have to report to the office.

Just realized you now have minimal time to yourself? This might start to explain why you struggle to gain momentum in your weight loss journey. Let’s work out how to take back the initiative:

  • Automate – Are there any tasks you can automate? If you’re fortunate enough to be gainfully employed, maybe it’s time to hire a cleaner or have ready-made meals delivered to your door. It doesn’t have to happen every night, but removing the decision of “what’s for dinner?” can be a great way to reduce stress and free up brain space and time.
  • Optimize – If you’re time-poor with kids, it’s time to optimize your activities. Turn screen time into playtime outdoors, and get them to join in on your activities. If your children are old enough, it might be time to start offering pocket money for chores and meal preparation. This strategy helped me stay fit as a single parent. By getting out and active with my son, I doubled my return on investment by staying fit and enhancing my relationship.
  • Eliminate – We’re only human. Sometimes, we simply have too much on our plate due to our high expectations. Take a look through your daily tasks and work out what can be removed.

Now, go through this exercise yourself. What potential spare time do you have to work with? If the answer is none, you might want to keep reading.

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Exercise Selection: It’s Not All About the Burn

No equipment? No problem.

So, we’re finally tracking the elements that matter. It’s time to start leveraging exercise to accelerate our weight loss journey. Alongside focusing on individual exercises that help with weight loss at home or caloric expenditure, we’re going to focus on another method to help keep you consistent and accountable for the long term: interest.

Interest has been linked as one of the key motivating factors to maintain consistency towards a goal. By choosing a form of exercise that your body and mind can enjoy, your chances of weight loss success are far greater.

Here’re the 5 best exercises for weight loss at home:

1. Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)

Maybe the body isn’t what it used to be, and intense forms of training simply just aren’t safe anymore. Also considering the body’s response to stress, it might be in our very best interest to choose low-intensity activities that we can repeat daily.

Mobility and movement flows have risen in popularity in recent years. This form of exercise focuses on restoring range of motion (ROM), improving stability, and returning people to activity. Some exercise options include:

  • Quadruped Rocks
  • Frog Stretch
  • Hip Prying
  • Scapula Push-ups
  • Hindu push-ups

Below is a 10minute warm-up flow that shows you how to put all of this together:

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2. Yoga

Yoga is another perfect example of LIIT methodology that can be advanced as your ability improves. Focusing on mobility, stability, and range of movement using only your body weight, it’s a perfect entry-level activity for those that may have lost their way on their weight loss journey.

3. Calisthenics

Strength training at home can be difficult when you lack equipment or experience. An obvious path to building strength at home is calisthenics. Starting with just the following basic bodyweight movements:

You can begin your journey with no equipment and build to quite an advanced level. Here are five movements you can look to master over time are:

Depending on your ability, choose movements that allow you to progress safely over time. There is also gymnastics-based training you can move towards if your body is ready for a more demanding form of training.

4. Aerobic Exercise

Another underrepresented form of exercise, aerobic exercise is often overlooked for its sexier counterparts like strength and HIIT. With the prevalence of obesity nearly tripling between 1975 and 2016 and the major cause in adults being cardiovascular disease, it makes sense to focus on activities that improve cardiovascular or heart health.

Another benefit is that it can be as simple as getting your steps in, going for a swim, or going for an easy ride or run. Phil Maffetone pioneered the Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Method that almost anyone can adopt regardless of fitness level and experience.[1]

Here’s a 30-minute session of aerobic exercises you can try:

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5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training is a great way to elevate the heart rate and get the endorphins flowing. It can also be super time-effective, giving you a great bang for your buck. Try sequencing some of the movements and exercises above together with minimal rest to keep your heart rate elevated. Be sure to select movements that suit your current level of fitness and ability.

Here’s a HIIT workout that takes little time and is suited for any level:

Chipper 60

Complete all reps of every exercise for time. Exercises can be done in any order and repetitions to complete the workout.

If you can’t do jump squats, regress to normal squats, and don’t be afraid to change the leg raises to a 60-second plank if you need to. Finish up with some light stretching or foam rolling.

What Also Matters: Sleep, Stress, and Stimulants

Sleep, stress, and stimulants, also known as the hamster wheel of death. Tracking these elements gives us the power to finally stop relying on our ever-depleted stores of discipline and motivation to get the job done. It will also highlight the self-destructive habits that sabotage your weight loss journey.

Simply put, stress affects stimulants, sleep affects stress, and the vicious cycle continues.

Sleep

Are you getting enough sleep? It’s well documented that sleep is an important factor in weight loss and recovery.

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“Restricted sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions.”[2]

Start this journey by tracking how much sleep you’re getting. Certain wearables can also track the amount of movement and time you spend awake or in lighter sleep cycles. Getting enough time in REM or deep sleep is critical for weight loss.

Stress

We don’t need to be fancy. A simple daily measurement out of ten indicates how much stress we think we are under. Using this number, we can observe the effects that sleep, stimulants, and exercise have on our stress levels, allowing us to deploy the right strategy for our weight loss goals.

Stimulants

Stimulants can be classified as anything we put in our mouths. Tracking calories, alcohol, and caffeine is a great way to observe, predict, and avoid trends or at-risk periods of overeating and destructive behaviors. Tracking this is aligned with how well we sleep, and our stress response gives us enough information to start forming better weight loss habits.

Work to identify the trigger, observe the response, and then look to adjust.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re fighting fit or returning to activity, the best exercises for weight loss at home are the ones that you can do day in day out that you enjoy. Think of exercise for weight loss as we do for compound interest. Consistently and regularly making deposits may not show immediately, but with time, they give you the momentum you need to reach your goals.

Featured photo credit: Olivia Bauso via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] PhilMaffetone: Maximum Aerobic Function
[2] SleepFoundation.org: Why is sleep so important to weight loss?

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