If you’re considering beginning a walk or run routine, know you are taking steps to improve your overall health and wellness. Walking or running has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve weight loss efforts, boost our energy levels and so much more. Best of all, it is a simple way to make a truly lasting impact on your quality of life.
Here are a few things to think about when getting started:
Check with Your Doctor First
If you have any health conditions, it is important to get checked out. Your doctor will tell you whether or not it is safe to begin walking or running. Always start here, especially if you are over 40 years old and live a mostly sedentary lifestyle. You could also schedule a running/walking evaluation with one of our Optimum Stride therapists. They will analyze your stride, make recommendations and provide you with the right exercises and education to keep you safely on the road to running.
Determine your current level of fitness and then you can build from there. Take a nice and easy walk once or twice around the block to gauge your current level of conditioning. Pay attention to things like heart rate, breathing and rate how hard it is on a scale from 0 (no difficulty) to 10 (difficult to catch your breath – exhausted).
Building blocks – 3 times a week
A good place to start is any type of movement (run, jog, or walk) three times a week, 15-20 minutes per session. You will notice this becomes easier as you stick with it for a week or two. As your conditioning improves, you can begin to exercise for longer periods of time and increase the number of days per week you do it.
Consider Good Shoes
Although your old pair of walking shoes might not make a noticeable impact at first, over time, they may begin to cause you to change your stride or put stress on your joints that can cause pain or injury. Proper fitting shoes specific to your foot and body type will improve your overall performance and reduce your risk for injury. Our Optimum Stride team is available for fitting and recommendations. Come talk with us the 3rd Wednesday every month from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at Scheels at Village Pointe.
Join a Group
Running and walking groups are great ways to stay motivated and enhance your routine. Being around other likeminded people help you stay accountable, motivated, and have fun doing it. There are opportunities all over town with organizations like the G.O.A.T.Z. and Omaha running club and several local running stores like Fleet Feet or Peak Performance host friendly group runs for all ability levels.
Stay Hydrated and Fueled for the Effort
Exercise will require more fluids and calories to work at its optimal level. Choose wisely – focus on a variety of nutritious, colorful meals that include a lot of fruits, vegetables, and protein. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Make it a goal to drink 0.5 – 1.0 ounces of water for every pound of body weight. You’ll be amazed at how your body responds when properly fueled and hydrated.
Listen to Your Body
Occasional pain or discomfort is expected when you are challenging yourself. But when these aches and pains don’t go away with rest, it might be time to take a day off. Not taking time to rest and recover can lead to injury. It’s okay to adjust your routine from time to time. If you’re not feeling it one day, or you’re under the weather, shorten your exercise or skip it completely.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Progress can be slow – taking weeks to ease into your new routine and adjust to the new levels of activity. Stay persistent and you will again find the groove to further improve your conditioning, pace, or weight loss goals. Don’t be discouraged! Keep taking small, consistent steps, and you’ll soon look back with surprise at the amazing progress you’ve made.
We wish you all the best and are here to support you every step of the way. Call us at (402) 609-1750 if you have any questions about starting a running program.