With so many disorders and long-term diseases plaguing countries worldwide, it is no surprise that every week athletic races, fun runs and marathons are being held almost everywhere. Who could blame us? In terms of practicality, jogging or running is still the cheapest and easiest form of exercise. You can run anytime and anywhere as long as your foot and your body aren’t saying ‘no’ to you, making it more than cost-effective.

Benefits of Running

While a lot of people are turning to a healthier lifestyle, others still lack the motivation to wake up for a 5-kilometer run. To help you keep standing on your toes, below are some of the reasons why running can transform your life:

  • It benefits your health – Research shows that running can increase your levels of good cholesterol while also helping you increase lung capacity. Running also increases your immune system and prevents high blood pressure.
  • It shreds weight – Since it’s one of the best form exercises for losing or maintaining a consistent weight, people of all ages are running a mile farther to lose some unwanted calories!
  • It improves overall mental health and eliminates depression – Runners are happy people, and this is not just because this activity enables you to socialize with other people. According to studies, running increases the production of serotonin (the happy hormone) in our body. So if you suddenly feel elated after that morning run, there’s no need to wonder why.
  • It bids goodbye to diseases – Running can actually help lower the risk of breast cancer for women. It can also help reduce your risk of having a stroke and heart attack. In the like manner, doctors today recommend this form of exercise for people who are in the early stages of diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis.
  • It boosts confidence – The benefits of running are not purely physical. In fact, once you start engaging in this activity, your confidence and self-esteem will start to grow. By setting and achieving goals, you will eventually feel more in control of your life and your body. Who knows? You might even appreciate those spandex tights once you achieve a more slender body!
  • It helps you stay mentally sharp – running boosts your overall brain functions so you can think clearly throughout the day. When you run, there are two key brain chemicals released that keep you mentally sharp; dopamine, which increases your learning and attention capacity; and norepinephrine, which influences human motivation and arousal.
  • It relieves stress – Stress can be responsible for several health and serious mood problems. From weakened appetite to lack of sleep, it can cause a lot of physiological disorders. Fortunately, when you run, you also force your body to exert excess energy and hormones. Running also reduces your chances of developing tension headaches. Now, who ever said you can’t run away from your problems?

These are only a few of the many benefits that running can offer to your body. Indeed, running is beneficial not only to the body, but to the mind and spirit as well. Surprisingly, you will find that even short runs can energize your senses and prepare you for what the day has in store for you.

What is endurance running?

Perhaps to you, the word ‘endurance’ means the ability to push your limits for a long period of time, but for Lou Zamperini of Hollywood, CA., an Olympian at 5,000 meters in the 1936 Berlin Games and was also a bombardier officer in the Army Air Corps, endurance has a deeper meaning. It is “…surviving in the rigid domain of despair, beyond the reach of help, or rest, or pity. It meant living from day to day with the heart tearing itself between hope and fear, merely subsisting under a cloud of doom with no finish line in sight.”

Endurance running is far from ordinary sprints and jogs. As the name implies, it means long durations and distances that are typical in marathons and half-marathons. It is an activity which requires patience and a series of physical training. This means that endurance running isn’t merely about your ability to run 10 miles. No, it’s more than that. People who are into this kind of field are into different physical trainings such as aerobics, cross-fitting, cycling and swimming, and they highly value the importance of mental preparation. Simply put, they don’t solely focus on their body because when it comes to running on tracks, they are holistically ready.

What Goals to Set?

Before engaging yourself in endurance running, you must first think about what you want to achieve from running or jogging. If you don’t know where to start, below are some of the modifications you need to make to embrace an active lifestyle:

  • Brisk Walk – For starters, you should begin with brisk walking then progress to jogging and work up to running. This training would take about 2 to 3 months.
  • Prepare a Diet Plan – Diet, diet and diet! Cut back on dietary fats, take-outs, soft drinks and chocolate (sweets in general). Start including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, wholegrain cereals and low-fat dairy products to your daily meals.
  • Improve General Fitness – Do not just stick to running alone; mix it with other forms of exercise like cycling and swimming.
  • Look for Companionship – If you want to mix sport and socialization, you could run with a friend or join a local running club to meet new people.
  • Join a Competition – Marathons and ultra-running competitions are trending nowadays. If you want to compete on one of these, you may opt in joining running clubs. Most clubs have sessions designed for beginners up to advanced runners. Many local based running events cater for people of all ages and abilities. Start looking for local running clubs near you if you want to use your competitive streaks.

The Forsaken Foot

Behind every great runner are great shoes. Inside those good old shoes can be blistered and tired feet. Without healthy feet, you are not going to get very far, and blisters early on in an event may cost you hours of time, or even keep you from finishing at all. But in endurance sports like ultra-running, keeping your feet happy and healthy for hours or days on the go can be difficult. But what can we do about it?

  • Prepare your feet beforehand – Follow the elite racers’ advice—toughen your feet up! Although the ultimate runner’s feet may seem bomb-proof either because of genetics or long hours of hard work, every athlete would have one advice for every beginner runner: Train your feet and pamper them whether you are preparing for a marathon or not.

Toughening the skin is as easy as singing ABC. A daily 15 minute foot-soak in lemon juice for 3 weeks before the event can work like magic for runners. If you are not a fan of lemon soaks, you can just protect your feet the ballerina way—roll it with cloth to protect it from injuries!

  • Prevent swelling – Plantar fasciits is the inflammation of swelling in the bottom of the foot, and this is one of the biggest problems in the runners’ world. This condition is characterized by sharp, painful and tight sensations at the base of the heel, and it is usually caused by overtraining or the overuse of worn-out footwear. How to prevent this? The answers are simple: know your limits and wear good shoes.
  • Keep your toenails and care for your ankles – Toenail lost is often caused by extreme contact between the nails and the front of the shoes. To prevent this, make sure that you wear the right size of shoes, and secure and tighten your laces. Another body part to consider is your ankles. Sprained ankles are very common among marathoners, so tape it up! If you have had a prior injury before the run, make sure to secure your ankles with the proper bandage.
  • Know the Cure – if you are a runner, no matter how much care and effort you put into your feet, pain and wounds are inevitable. The personal care industry knows this too well, and this is why they created products like specialized socks, bandages, and ointments that will aid runners like you. This also led to the creation of one of the most highly used products today—the foot salve.

Why Foot Salve Saves!

Our feet need proper care too. If you are a runner and if your feet can talk, for sure, you’ll be debating all day long. From wounds to cracked heels to missing toenails, your foot definitely has all the right to stop you from running. Luckily for them, a lot of products are now available in the market to prevent and cure some of the most common feet problems of runners—the most famous of them all is the foot salve.

Salve can be either in a form of ointment or balm or powder. It is basically a cooling and soothing medication intended for the following purposes:

  • antibacterial
  • relief for tension and aching feet
  • reduction of friction (feet and socks)
  • water repellant
  • prevention of blisters and wounds

Worried about not finding foot salve products in your local market? Fret no more! It would be easy to find this product because there are a lot of available brands like Hydropel and Miracle Foot Repair Cream.

Other people might not be able to embrace a fitter lifestyle, but with so many diseases out there, it is definitely getting more difficult to find reasons not to start engaging in healthy physical activities. While joining an ultra-marathon needs time and effort, learning proper techniques can make it easier for you to join the bandwagon of runners. After all, running doesn’t only benefit you in one way—it is advantageous in all aspects of life.