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7 BENEFITS OF RUNNING THAT’LL INSPIRE YOU TO LACE UP

1. TO UPGRADE CARDIO FITNESS

Improved heart health, lower blood pressure, increased metabolism, stress relief, extra energy – the benefits of running and boosting your cardiovascular fitness are plentiful and, happily, running delivers them all. It also ups your VO2 max – the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilise during exercise – which is generally considered the best indicator of cardiovascular fitness.

‘To raise your VO2 max, I strongly believe you have to hang out at your VO2 max,’ says Meliniotis. ‘That means more tempo runs.’ For the uninitiated, a tempo run is a ‘comfortably hard’ pace you can just about maintain for 20 to 30 minutes. ‘Tempo runs raise your anaerobic threshold and improve running economy at speeds slower than tempo, such as marathon pace.’ If you’re a fitness beginner, improvements to your VO2 max will come relatively easily with sustained aerobic. exercise, such as running.

The higher your VO2 number, the more oxygen you get to the muscles, and the faster or longer you can run.

2. TO TONE UP

Running has long had a rep as an almost magical form of exercise that will melt away any fat you’re looking to lose, and it’s largely true – at first. When you’re new to an exercise, your body responds to a lower level of stress, meaning you may not have to run very far or very fast to see results. Then your muscles start to adapt and, as with any workout, you have to progress your running routine to keep seeing the benefits of running on your waistline.

The American College of Sports Medicine reports that you can elevate your metabolismfor up to 24 hours post-exercise with just one little twist: intervals. ‘If you’re a newbie, ease into it,’ says running coach Michael Meliniotis. ‘Walk or jog at a moderate pace for 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week. Then add one interval workout per week [more on those later] – no more than that, to reduce injury risk.’

Not only will you blast more calories in less time, but a recent study in Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise found that interval workouts may even encourage more mindful eating. Want to make gains as well? You’ll need to complement your runs with strength and conditioning sessions, too.

3. TO BOOST BRAIN FUNCTION

Get this: a 2018 study by West Michigan University showed that half an hour of running at a fairly high intensity improves your ‘cortical flicker frequency’ threshold, which is associated with your brain’s ability to absorb and process information—so the benefits of running extend to brain boosting powers, too.

‘This could be helpful if you feel bombarded by information,’ says neuroscientist Ben Martynoga, who has worked with Saucony UK to explore the connection between running and the brain. ‘In a set of experiments by Nottingham Trent University in 2016, “executive functions” – those that control your attention, tune out distractions, switch between tasks and solve problems – were improved following bursts of high-intensity interval sprints in young people.’

Been waiting for a life-changing eureka moment? Lace up. ‘Once you achieve a steady rhythm of breath and heart rate, the level of mental clarity is sky high,’ adds O’Neill. ‘Some of my best ideas come when running outdoors.’

4. FOR THAT HIGH

The runner’s high – that euphoric feeling that makes you want to run forever – may seem far off when a passing car has just drenched your favourite Lululemon leggings in dirty puddle water. But it’s real – and it isn’t only caused by endorphins.

A study in the Proceedings Of The National Academy of Sciences points to endocannabinoids, chemicals in your body that promote relaxation, as the source. ‘Runners at all levels can experience this super-neurological phenomenon,’ says Dr Je Brown, chief psychologist for the Boston Marathon.

There’s no secret formula, but you’ll need to run for at least 30 minutes (previous research showed that’s when endocannabinoids start kicking in). Dr Brown also suggests pushing your pace and mixing up your route. ‘Novelty prevents boredom and feeds your brain stimuli, which stops distractions and promotes positive thoughts.’

5. TO DE-STRESS

As well as providing the highs, the benefits of running can combat the lows. Princeton University research found that running produces new neurons in the hippocampus – a region of the brain shown to regulate anxiety.

‘Stress activates your fight-or-flight response, which primes your body for action, causing your breathing and heart rate to rise,’ explains Martynoga. ‘When you go for a run, it puts that energy to good use, often helping stress to melt away.’

The science? ‘Aerobic exercise activates an enzyme in your muscles that clears a substance called knyurenine from your bloodstream,’ says Martynoga. ‘This is great, because a build-up of knyurenine in the brain has been linked to stress-induced depression.’ Noted.

6. TO BE PART OF THE CLUB

Pick any weekend in the calendar and you’ll find a race to run somewhere in the UK. Parkrun now boasts over three million runners in 20 countries clocking 5K every Saturday.

‘I always tell my runners to have an event to work towards,’ says running coach and Riot Squad (Running Is Our Therapy) founder Vicky Tzanetis. ‘Try your local Run Together group – breaking out of your comfort zone is much easier with others.’

Races have become more inclusive, too, says sports psychologist Dr Ariane Machin. ‘When I was younger, only “good” runners raced. Now it’s not just about performance, but the experience and having fun.’ Cue relays, zombie runs and obstacle races – there’s something for everyone.

7. TO SEE THE WORLD

Fancy a run-cation? More women than ever are building their travels around races in beautiful locations. The Dubai Marathon takes place on 25 January 2019, while Lausanne on the shores of Lake Geneva will host the 31st edition of the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in 2019.

Having just been named the Swiss wine capital, it’s the perfect place to reward yourself with a postrun Merlot. Speaking of wine, Lanzarote’s Club La Santa sports and fitness resort hosts wine runs through the Le Geria wine district – with tastings en route – along with an annual run challenge every November comprising four races in four consecutive days.

Haven’t booked your trip around race dates? No problem. You can scout out sweet trails others have already run on apps like Runkeeper and Strava.

Now you’ve read up on the benefits of running, get kitted out with this rundown of running winter gloves or why not try a running backpack for that morning commute.

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Eating These Kinds of Foods May Make Your Running-Related GI Issues Even Worse

Bothered by bloating? The answer may be on your plate.

Like shin splints and IT band tightness, gastrointestinal distress can be an unwelcome—yet common—part of the sport for many runners.

But a new study suggests that a certain type of diet may help.

Recently published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the study looked at exercise-related GI issues and the potentially beneficial effects of the low fermentable oligosaccharide, disaccharide, monosaccharide, and polyol (FODMAP) diet. Past research has shown benefits of a low FODMAP diet for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), so researchers wanted to see whether it could help healthy athletes, too.

FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates—found in many legumes, grains like wheat and rye, lactose-containing dairy, fruits high in fructose, vegetables like onions, some nuts, and artificial sweeteners—that are poorly digested and absorbed.

That’s not always a bad thing: Considered dietary fiber, these carbs rocket toward the end of your intestine, where the majority of gut bacteria are. The good bugs in your belly use these carbs for fuel, but much like any fuel processing, there are by-products, like gas. For some people, such as those with IBS, certain high-FODMAP foods create digestive issues that can become chronic, such as bloating, stomach cramps, and pain.

Researchers looked at 16 volunteers who were given either a low-FODMAP or high-FODMAP diet for seven days, followed by a week of whatever they wanted to eat, and then one week on whichever FODMAP diet they didn’t have initially. They rated not only their GI symptoms, but also their perceived ability to exercise.

The researchers found that a low FODMAP diet significantly improved running-related GI symptoms in 69 percent of the people. Overall, the participants reported significant improvements in exercise frequency and intensity on the low-FODMAP diet, leading researchers to conclude that following that diet could reduce exercise-related and IBS-related GI symptoms.

Study co-author Justin Roberts, Ph.D., at the Cambridge Centre for Sport & Exercise Sciences told Runner’s World that previous studies have indicated high-FODMAP diets may lead to undigested carbohydrates fermenting in the GI tract, which can cause digestive distress. Reducing those foods, even in the short term—such as a few days leading up to a long run or a race—may reduce risk of symptoms. But, he emphasized, the benefits are likely to be highly individualized.

“Some people may notice reduced bloating or cramping, others may notice reduced nausea,” he said. “This largely depends on factors like previous history of symptoms and type of diet.”

Interestingly, he added, switching to a low-FODMAP diet may help your brain as well as your belly.

“We found that people reported improved perception of exercise, which may be important during sustained training periods,” he said.

Obviously, some of the foods on the FODMAPs list are super healthy, like probiotic-packed yogurt, for example, or whole grains. Also, Roberts noted, there’s a potential trade-off for the benefits.

“We do suggest caution in this approach, as we did find that reducing FODMAP-based foods tended to result in lower-than-expected carbohydrate and calorie intake,” he said. “Meaning that a low-FODMAP approach may need to be introduced in short cycles as opposed to a sustained low-FODMAP intake.”

So, as long as you’re getting your carbs and calories right, and seeing low-FODMAP eating as part of your run or race prep, it can be a helpful way to tame those digestive dilemmas.

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Not exercising worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease, study reveals.

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) We’ve all heard exercise helps you live longer. But a new study goes one step further, finding that a sedentary lifestyle is worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease.

Dr. Wael Jaber, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic and senior author of the study, called the results “extremely surprising.” “Being unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test has a worse prognosis, as far as death, than being hypertensive, being diabetic or being a current smoker,” Jaber told CNN. “We’ve never seen something as pronounced as this and as objective as this.”

Jaber said researchers must now convey the risks to the general population that “being unfit should be considered as strong of a risk factor as hypertension, diabetes and smoking — if not stronger than all of them.” “It should be treated almost as a disease that has a prescription, which is called exercise,” he said.

Researchers retrospectively studied 122,007 patients who underwent exercise treadmill testing at Cleveland Clinic between January 1, 1991 and December 31, 2014 to measure all-cause mortality relating to the benefits of exercise and fitness. Those with the lowest exercise rate accounted for 12% of the participants.

The study was published Friday in the journal JAMA Network Open. “Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are the most expensive diseases in the United States. We spend more than $200 billion per year treating these diseases and their complications. Rather than pay huge sums for disease treatment, we should be encouraging our patients and communities to be active and exercise daily,” said Dr. Jordan Metzl, sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery and author of the book “The Exercise Cure.”
Jaber said the other big revelation from the research is that fitness leads to a longer life, with no limit to the benefit of aerobic exercise. ResearcheExercise: It's what the doctor orderedrs have always been concerned that “ultra” exercisers might be at a higher risk of death, but the study found that not to be the case.

“There is no level of exercise or fitness that exposes you to risk,” he said. “We can see from the study that the ultra-fit still have lower mortality.”

“In this study, the most fit individuals did the best,” said Metzl, who was not involved in the study. “Once cleared by their physicians, patients shouldn’t be afraid of exercise intensity.”

The benefits of exercise were seen across all ages and in both men and women, “probably a little more pronounced in females,” Jaber said. “Whether you’re in your 40s or your 80s, you will benefit in the same way.”

The risks, he said, became more shocking when comparing those who don’t exercise much. “We all know that a sedentary lifestyle or being unfit has some risk. But I’m surprised they overwhelm even the risk factors as strong as smoking, diabetes or even end-stage disease.”

“People who do not perform very well on a treadmill test,” Jaber said, “have almost double the risk of people with kidney failure on dialysis.”

Exercise is good for your body and your mind, study says

What made the study so unique, beyond the sheer number of people studied, he said was that researchers weren’t relying on patients self-reporting their exercise. “This is not the patients telling us what they do,” Jaber said. “This is us testing them and figuring out objectively the real measure of what they do.”

Comparing those with a sedentary lifestyle to the top exercise performers, he said, the risk associated with death is “500% higher.” “If you compare the risk of sitting versus the highest performing on the exercise test, the risk is about three times higher than smoking,” Jaber explained.

Get CNN Health’s weekly newsletterSign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

Comparing somebody who doesn’t exercise much to somebody who exercises regularly, he said, still showed a risk 390% higher. “There actually is no ceiling for the benefit of exercise,” he said. “”There’s no age limit that doesn’t benefit from being physically fit.” Dr. Satjit Bhusri, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, who was not involved in the study, said this reinforces what we know. “Sedentary, Western lifestyles have lead to a higher incidence in heart disease and this shows that it’s modifiable. It’s reversible,” he explained, adding that doctors are really good at treating patients who have had cardiovascular events but they can be prevented. “We’re meant to walk, run, exercise. It’s all about getting up and moving.” For patients, especially those who live a sedentary lifestyle, Jaber said, “You should demand a prescription from your doctor for exercise.”
So get moving.

New to Virtual Races? 5 Steps to get your started.

What to Eat Before a 5k/10k Run

Carb loading for a 5K race isn’t really necessary. When it comes to a 5K you will really just want to make sure you are doing these following steps when it comes to eating before your race:

Eat A Light Breakfast

For morning races, a light 200-300 calorie breakfast one to two hours before the race should hold you over well. Try to make sure that most of the calories are coming from whole, unprocessed carbs. Try to avoid too much fiber or fats due to the amount of time they take to digest. 10 grams of fiber/fat or less is best!  Be sure to avoid spicy! Spicy foods or seasoning can upset your stomach and may cause heartburn during your race. Make sure that you try different meal choices during your training to see what works best with your body, so on the race day you will know exactly what to eat.

Pre-Race Snacking

No need to starve yourself! If you are hungry right before your race, it is perfectly OK to have a small snack of 150-250 calories that settles the hunger, but not fill you up. Something like a banana, or energy bar would suffice. Try to choose something that is high in carbohydrates and low in fat. Make sure to drink 7-10 ounces of water or a sports drink to wash it down. Drinking  will aid in quicker digestion, giving your body the quick burn nutrients you need to succeed!

Stay Hydrated

Wash your pre-race meal down with plenty of water or your favorite sports drinks. 17-20 ounces of water before the race is about what you should consume. Then sipping water throughout the day and before the race is a good idea. Avoid drinking so much that you get sick once you start running. Stay hydrated but pace yourself.

Late-Day Race

If your race is later in the day or evening, be sure to keep all your meals very light. Breakfast and lunch meals will be very important in how you feel by the time the race starts. Again, avoid high fiber and fat. Granola with fruit, a bagel with egg, etc. are all good choices for breakfast if your race is late in the day.

Best of luck on your upcoming Virtual 5k or 10k! Let us know what you do to prepare for your race and as always we would love to hear and see the results on social media!

Fuel For A 5k

What to Eat Before a 5k/10k Run

 

Carb loading for a 5K race isn’t really necessary. When it comes to a 5K you will really just want to make sure you are doing these following steps when it comes to eating before your race:

Eat A Light Breakfast

For morning races, a light 200-300 calorie breakfast one to two hours before the race should hold you over well. Try to make sure that most of the calories are coming from whole, unprocessed carbs. Try to avoid too much fiber or fats due to the amount of time they take to digest. 10 grams of fiber/fat or less is best!  Be sure to avoid spicy! Spicy foods or seasoning can upset your stomach and may cause heartburn during your race. Make sure that you try different meal choices during your training to see what works best with your body, so on the race day you will know exactly what to eat.

Pre-Race Snacking

No need to starve yourself! If you are hungry right before your race, it is perfectly OK to have a small snack of 150-250 calories that settles the hunger, but not fill you up. Something like a banana, or energy bar would suffice. Try to choose something that is high in carbohydrates and low in fat. Make sure to drink 7-10 ounces of water or a sports drink to wash it down. Drinking  will aid in quicker digestion, giving your body the quick burn nutrients you need to succeed!

Stay Hydrated

Wash your pre-race meal down with plenty of water or your favorite sports drinks. 17-20 ounces of water before the race is about what you should consume. Then sipping water throughout the day and before the race is a good idea. Avoid drinking so much that you get sick once you start running. Stay hydrated but pace yourself.

Late-Day Race

If your race is later in the day or evening, be sure to keep all your meals very light. Breakfast and lunch meals will be very important in how you feel by the time the race starts. Again, avoid high fiber and fat. Granola with fruit, a bagel with egg, etc. are all good choices for breakfast if your race is late in the day.

 

Best of luck on your upcoming Virtual 5k or 10k! Let us know what you do to prepare for your race and as always we would love to hear and see the results on social media!