Aqua Jogging 101

Aqua jogging or deep water running is a variation of running wherein the runner is submerged in water. Aqua jogging is ideal for runners or athletes who are just recovering from injuries. It is a perfect workout to help exercise the lower part of your body without the direct impact running on the ground does.

Aqua joggers maintain an upright position while being in the water mimicking the movements of running or jogging on solid ground. What makes aqua jogging more challenging is the need to imitate running movements as much as they possibly can while avoiding actually touching or hitting the pool floor. You need to keep a floating position while running submerged in deep water.

Deep water running is also ideal for the elderly as well as individuals aiming to lose weight. Since there will be less running impact in aqua jogging, less muscle sores and joint pains will be felt during and after the workout. If you are overweight, deep water running can help you lose weight faster as well because of the added pressure from water resistance.

If you’re new to aqua jogging, you need to know that first of all, you should select a pool deep enough to let you immerse in it without your feet touching the floor. There are also aqua belts or vests that can come in handy to help keep you afloat while aqua jogging. However, if you’re an excellent swimmer, or once you get used to the sensation of deep water running, you can do it without the aid of belts or vests.

Unlike running on dry surfaces, you should try to maintain a straight, upright position at all times instead of leaning your upper body forward. You may also want to exert more effort in lifting your knee with every step because you will experience water resistance that will make the workout a bit more challenging.

Although aqua jogging was typically practiced for therapeutic uses, there is an annual competitive event held for aqua jogging too. In Finland, yearly aqua jogging-related competitions are held with various categories.

Aqua jogging is quickly getting the recognition it deserves across many nations because of its many benefits. It has even become a competitive sport for some countries rather than just a pre or post injury therapeutic exercise. If you want to try a new, fun, and refreshing way to lose weight and stay healthy without the body aches or pains, you should try deep water running.

To Run or Not To Run? The Pros and Cons of Joining Marathons

Marathons are gaining popularity all over the world by the minute. People of all ages, even entire families, participate in fun runs.

However, running full-length marathons (26 miles and 385 yards) is not easy. Competitors go through intensive training that cans last for several weeks just to prepare for the big day. Why do runners choose to join marathons?

For years, there has been debate whether or not it is wise to compete in marathons. Running in marathons can be risky because not only competitors must run and complete the distance, since a marathon is still a running race, participants must finish the race as fast as they possibly can.

If you’re preparing to join a marathon, you must be completely aware of what you’re getting yourself into. Here are some of the pros and cons of running in marathons:

Pros:

Marathons can boost your self-confidence. For you to be able to complete a marathon, you have to undergo training for months. Training takes a lot of self-discipline and is not an easy thing to do. Being able to maintain self-discipline and merely being able to survive training can give a sense of pride to runners; what more if they actually compete a race?

It is a known fact that running lowers cholesterol and decreases the risks of getting heart problems. Running also strengthen the lungs, and is an excellent aerobic exercise.

Joining in marathons can give you opportunities to meet new people who share the same interests as you—running.

Running (not only the actual running you’ll do on the marathon itself, but during training days as well), if paired with a strict diet, can help in losing weight and maintaining a fitter figure.

One of the major factors that affect the popularity of modern marathons is that some of them were created to support important agendas or causes to help hospitals, cancer patients, charities, etc.

While there are many benefits that you can get from running in marathons, there are also drawbacks.

Cons:

Participating in marathons can be expensive. Registration fees are required to be able to join marathons. The cost of registration may vary from £50 to 100 in the UK (London Marathon), and may range from $185 to $210 in the US (Chicago Marathon).

Since training for marathons may take months, there are risks of getting overuse injuries. Overuse muscles injury may result from intensive training done regularly. There’s possibility of getting injuries not only on training itself, but on the actual running day when you have to give your all.

Probably the worst disadvantage of joining marathons is being exposed to the risks of getting cardiac arrest or heart attack. Just last year, in April 2014, three runners died from London and Raleigh, North Carolina because of running in marathons. Yes, it is ironic because running is supposed to make your heart stronger; yet people die from having heart attacks due to running extra vigorously. According to study researcher Eric Larose of the Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Quebec and Universite Laval, regular exercise decreases the risks of getting heart attacks by a factor of two or three, but marathon increases the risks of getting cardiac arrests by seven-fold.

The idea of being able to participate in marathons can be hard to let go of, especially for those who have a passion for running. Running in marathons is still possible if your doctor assures you that you don’t have any heart problem. Also, a Circulation study in 2006 revealed that runners who have prepared adequately before marathons are less likely to suffer heart attacks.

You can’t have too much of a good thing, before you pursue your goal of joining in marathons, make sure that you’re not risking more than just your comfort. Only you can decide if the rewards outweigh the risks.

 

Debunking Myths on Running

Debunking Myths on Running

There are many myths about running that not only prevents non-runners from trying the workout; these myths often mislead runners as well. Before you run, make sure you know your facts. It’s also good to be able to tell the misconception from the truth to make sure that no myth can stop you from enjoying running.

Here’s one of the most common myths on running: Running barefoot minimizes the risk of getting injuries. While minimalist or barefoot running may sound wonderful as it sounds practical and natural, it is not advisable to all runners. Barefoot running may even cause foot injuries to runners who try and switch to it at once. If you want to give minimalist running a try, start by doing it gradually to at least give your foot time to adjust to the difference of running barefoot against using running shoes.

Another common myth is that you should not run in rainy weathers. Running in the rain can still be done as long as you make sure that you wear proper clothing and stay off slippery roads or surfaces.

The myth that running is bad for your knees is one of the myths that stop non-runners from running. Unless you’re already suffering from an underlying knee problem, running is a good exercise for the joints. A study from Stanford University in 2008 found out that the status of knee osteoarthritis in runners was not worsened by running. If anything, running can be good for the knees as it strengthens the muscles and bones.

Probably one of the most dangerous myths is: The more you run, the better you’ll be. Some runners, especially beginners, ought to know that doing too much running too soon will probably end up in undesirable consequences. If you want to be a runner for a longer period of time, you should learn to take good care of yourself. Overtraining can lead to muscle overuse injuries. Keep in mind that your body has its limits. After all, running is supposed to keep you healthy and strong.

Storing up energy by eating a lot of carbs, or ‘carb-loading’ the night before running is another myth commonly followed by runners. While storing up carbohydrates is important before running, it does not necessarily mean that carb-loading is applicable in every run. Overdoing carb-loading will not produce good results for runs that won’t last for a long time. These stored carbs would be unused, won’t be burned and will just end up as fats.

“Strength training won’t help in running.” is also one of the popular myths still circulating. While engaging in strength training is a choice you may or may not try, runners who do strength training develop stronger muscles and therefore have a better running performance. Also, strength training can enhance muscle endurance.

Having correct information about your workout routine is important. It eliminates confusion and makes you confident that you’re on the right track. Knowledge about running can also help enlighten non-runners and even encourage them to try the exercise.

5 Supplements You Should Consider Taking

First and foremost a runner needs to worry about their diet. A diet needs to be balanced coming from a variety of nutrient dense food sources. Once you have these basics in place you may want to consider going that one step further and taking supplements. Whilst these shouldn’t replace a healthy diet they can fill in any gaps and in some cases give you an extra boost in performance.

Creatine

Creatine is one of the most studied supplements around and has a mountain of evidence proving its efficacy. It is most commonly associated with strength and power athletes due to its ability to increase the amount of creatine phosphate in a muscle.

Creatine also provides benefits to endurance based athletes such as runners. First of all runners should be including strength training into their overall training program. Studies have also shown creatine to increase performance in interval based workouts.

Fish Oil

By eating a balanced diet we can usually be pretty sure that we won’t have any micronutrient deficiencies however Omega-3 does tend to be a common one. This is because it is only present in a small number of foods such as fish, walnuts, flaxseeds etc. It is very easy for even a healthy eater not to have these present in large enough amounts in their diet. Omega 3 is used by the body for a number of vital functions.

If you already eat foods that are rich in Omega 3 then you most likely don’t need to supplement with it however taking a fish oil supplement can act as insurance.

Vitamin D

I recommend everyone supplement with vitamin D especially for those of us living in the UK where there is limited sunshine. Deficiency in vitamin D is common with deficiencies in it associated with an increased risk in some cancers as well as a fall in athletic performance.

The reason why it’s of a particular concern to those of us in the UK is that the main source of vitamin D is being outside in the sunlight. This combined with the fact that people are spending more and more time indoors due to their job has led to vitamin D deficiency becoming more widespread.

When supplementing it is better if you choose the Vitamin D3 variety.

Whey Protein

Whey protein is not absolutely necessary for runners but it is something you can consider if your diet is lacking in protein. Where whey protein excels is in its convenience and also cost. If you sat down and calculated how much whey protein costs it comes out to be cheaper per gram of protein than lean meat. When you combine that with the fact that you can use a discount or voucher code you can get this supplement very cheaply. I would recommend The Protein Works or if you prefer choosing from a wide selection of brands you can get discount codes for Monster Supplements.

Multivitamin

You can consider taking a multivitamin supplement as an insurance policy in case you have a nutrient deficiency. You shouldn’t be using a multivitamin to make up for a bad diet however. You should also be wary of “megadosing”, certain vitamins and minerals are already present in high quantities in our diets so consuming far in excess of what our body needs could lead to negative consequences.

I should also points out that recent research has brought up the possibility that multivitamins might not be as useful as previously thought due to how our bodies actually absorb them. You might like to check out this Youtube video.

Why You Should Start Running

beginnerrunning2

Nothing good was achieved in just one day. Your journey from being a beginner runner to an experienced one is long and will include many ups and downs. You can’t expect to get results overnight. I can guarantee you however, that if you stick with it over a number of months you will see results and you won’t be a beginner anymore.

You will be getting fit and having fun at the same time and you will be on your way to achieving your next goal in running. In order to achieve your running goals you will need to stick to a good training plan. Your mind, will perhaps be your strongest ally, as you will need it to get your body moving. Only you will be able to force your body to go running at times when all it wants to do is sit on the couch and watch TV. So if you haven’t already, start running today, there is no better time than the present.

Why Should You Start Running?

Most people may start running in order to lose weight but once they have started they enjoy all kinds of additional benefits such as being fitter, healthier and happier.

The Afterburn Effect

Everyone is familiar with the fact that you burn calories when you run but did you know that you keep on burning even after you have stopped running? Regular exercise will boost the afterburn effect(this is the number of calories you burn after you have completed your workout). This effect is put into motion as soon as you run a bit faster than your easy pace.

Longevity

Exercising just 30 minutes per day, five days a week will literally add years onto your lifespan. Multiple studies have shown that when people start exercising they tend to live longer. Regular exercise has even been shown to help smokers as other health conditions such as heart disease.

Reduced Risk of Cancer

Whilst exercise might not cure cancer there is still lots of evidence to show that it will help prevent it. A review conducted in the Journal of Nutrition that looked at 170 studies concluded that regular exercise lowered the risk of certain cancers such as colon cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer sometimes as much as 70 percent.

Happiness

30 minutes of running, five days a week has been shown to not only improve the quality of your sleep but also your mood and concentration. Exercise has also been shown to increase your ability to deal with anxiety and stress.

Senility

If you are worried about slowly “losing” your faculties as you get older then running regularly could help your mind stay sharp. A recent study that was publish in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review has shown that exercise will reduce the risk of age-related mental illness.

Stronger Bones and Joints

I am sure we have all heard from somebody that running is bad for your knees, this isn’t really the whole story. Studies have shown that knee health can improve from running. One of the side benefits from running is that it will increase bone mass and help to reduce loss in bone density as you age.

Does Running Ever Become Easier?

There are numerous health benefits when it comes to running. It’s one of the best ways to burn calories and thus lose fat in addition to the cardiovascular benefits. It’s extremely cheap and easy to start and is therefore the number one reason why it is the most popular sport for people just starting out.

Although it seems easy, beginners can easily become demoralised when they come to terms with the fact that it’s not as easy as it looks. All you need are some shorts, a shirt and some shoes and you can start running but when will running become easier for the beginner just starting out?

The answer to this question depends a lot on the individual, ever runner is different. It depends on your experience level and how fit you were before you started training, your age and your physical condition such as whether or not you are overweight.

If an individual has been active throughout their life, playing sports, or has a physically demanding job then they should be able to adapt quickly to any running they do, perhaps within 2 to 3 weeks.
In this scenario, adapting only means that the runner should see some changes in that running becomes a little easier, they are a little less fatigued, sore and out of breath.

In contrast, if an individual has a sedentary lifestyle or an office job that has them sitting in front of a computer all day or you are a little older, later 30s or onwards the whole process will take much longer. It may take this individual 4 to 6 weeks of consistent training in order to see the same level of results.

5 Tips to Help You Be a Consistent Runner

Most people have been through it, they start a new physical activity only for your enthusiasm to slowly dwindle away into nothing. There are things that a beginner can do help establish a routine and turn running into a habit.

Realistic Expectations

Running is not easy, it’s a relatively high impact sport, and you need to give your body time in order for it to adequately recover to the new stress. As your body adapts and adjusts it will get easier, you just need to give it time.

This same principle can be applied to progression. Everyone adapts at different rates and even if you started training with a friend at the same time doesn’t mean you will both be at the same level a few weeks down the road. Your friend may have progressed faster than you, they key is to not be discouraged and to stick with it and eventually the results will come.

Not only this, but your performance on any one given day can be effected by many external factors. If on a particular day running felt particularly hard it could have been due to a poor night’s sleep, stress from work or even poor nutrition.

Trying To Do Too Much When First Starting Out

Many top level coaches will have their novice and intermediate level runners follow a training plan that will not have them running on consecutive days and instead have them take a day of rest between run days. Cross training is an option in between run days.

Cross training includes forms of cardiovascular training such as pool running, cycling, elliptical machines at the gym i.e. forms of training that don’t have the same impact as running. Resistance training can also be useful at building up work capacity and therefore improve your aerobic fitness. It will also allow your body to adapt by giving it time off from the monotony of running and your joints the constant pounding.

Warming Up Sufficiently

It’s is a fairly common complaint from runners that they don’t start to feel good until they already been running for 30 minutes. This sounds like a problem for a beginner whose entire session may only be 30 minutes.

To avoid this problem you can add a simple warm up such as walking or motion drills. 15 to 20 minutes of warming up may seem like a lot but when done effectively, it can make your training session a lot more comfortable.

Using Cool Down Periods In Order to Recover Properly

Cool down periods are not just intended for intermediate or above athletes, beginner should focus on getting into the habit of performing them as well. Using walking, stretching and foam rolling after each run is a good habit to get into.

When you are a beginner and your body is struggling to adapt to the new stresses you placing on it, a cool down can be extremely important in helping your body recover and adapt that little bit quicker.

Run With People Who Will Encourage You

It’s difficult to start anything when you are doing it entirely by yourself, particularly when it comes to a sport as difficult as running. When you run in a group or with a friend it will give you that extra accountability and motivation to keep on going. The feeling you get when you belong to a team and you don’t want to let somebody down can be enough to make you keep on going.

Try and find a local running group or team, you can even try and recruit friends or family members to run with you. Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals will help motivate you when things get tough and they will also understand the things that can make running difficult.

Beach Running

beach

Beach running can be a pleasant change from running on the road, it combines a demanding and strength enhancing workout whilst on a beautiful setting. Running on dry and loose sand has the ability to strengthen your muscles, arches and ankles more than running on firmer ground.

By running on looser surfaces it forces your body to work harder and create more force through a larger range of motion. Studies have shown that it actually requires more energy and that you will burn approximately 1.6 more calories per mile than road running. It also has the extra benefit of reducing the impact force on your joints.

When Is The Best Time To Run On The Beach

For the most level and firm running surface the best time would be at low or falling tide. As the tide recedes it will leave behind a harder, compacted sand. You can research your local tide reports via Google so that you can time your run perfectly. If you can, you should time the run at either low tide or between an hour or two around it.

In order to be able to run on the compacted sand try and stay as close to the edge of the water as you can whilst not getting your feet wet. The actual distance you should run away from the water is going to depend on your beach. Some beaches will allow you a lot more room whilst others will give you much less.

If you instead prefer to run at high tide, you will be running in a different environment, soft and dry sand. Whilst it is kinder on the joints it also makes running a lot more difficult as the sand will give way under your feet. Due to the increased difficulty it is better to build up to this and first start out with running with shoes as close as possible to a low tide.

Running in Shoes or Barefoot

When you run barefoot on sand you are able to use a more natural range of motion with your feet. This has the effect of strengthening both your feet and ankles. Be careful though, this could increase your chance of being injured if you run too fast or too frequently like this. Build up to it first, start with runs of about 15 to 20 minutes to slowly increase the strength of the stabilizing muscles in your feet. You can then add five minutes on to each subsequent barefoot runs, this will give your body the time it needs to adapt.

Another thing should be aware of is that barefoot running on sand can worsen plantar fasciitis or even lead to sprains and other injuries. This is because a running shoe provides support which you no longer have running barefoot.

If you want to run barefoot you should also be cautious of shells and any other sharp objects that could cut you on the beach. In terms of safety it is probably better if you do wear shoes. Whilst there aren’t any shoes specifically for running on the beach there are some alternatives that are good enough for the job. The shoes you usually run in will do the job just fine although a great alternative is a lighter-weight trail shoe that will give you some extra added grip.

Recommended Beach Workouts

Zigzag

10 minute run on the compacted, hard sand. Start off with a slow jog and slowly increase the pace until you reach your training pace. After this run over to the soft sand for a one minute hard run. Run back to the firm sand for some slower paced running for recovery for one minute. Keep doing this until you have completed between 5 to 10 of the one minute spurts on the dry sand. You can perform a cool down with an easy 10 minute jog at the end.

Sand Dune Running

Before doing this you should check with the relevant personnel that you are allowed to run on the sand dunes as in some cases you may not be!

Start off by running for 10 minutes on the wet, firm sand slowly increasing the pace to reach your training speed. Find a sand dune, run to the top and then jog back down completing 5 to 10 ascents, this depends on just how high the dune is. After wards perform a 10 minute cool down.