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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.


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.


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.’


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.’


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.


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.


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.

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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.
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Eat These Foods to Prevent Exercise Induced Nausea

Runner’s stomach can slow you down so eat these foods to keep up your pace!

Runners’ gut or runners’ stomach is a well-known phenomenon in the world of running. From mid-run stomach aches and bathroom breaks to other gastrointestinal complaints, athletes can be plagued with exercise-induced stomach problems. Nausea is also a common symptom among runners.

People who engage in intense workouts like high intensity training, marathons, long distance cycling and triathlons are at greater risk for nausea that is brought about by exercise. People with a history of acid reflux (also sometimes called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD) are at an even greater risk due to excessive pressure on your core.

Exercise-induced nausea can occur in athletes after high intensity or strenuous training, according to a study published in 2013 in Gastroenterology Review.  According to Robert Glatter, M.D., an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Northwell Health as well as attending emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, “Exercise-induced nausea results from reduced blood flow to the stomach during intense exercise as blood flow is directed to more critical organs such as the heart, lungs and brain.”

It can also be caused by other things like irritable bowel syndrome and other factors such as climate conditions, duration and intensity, type of exercise and hydration status. This nausea can also occur if you start and stop running too quickly, which makes it important to slowly ease your pace down when coming to the end of a run.

In some cases, this nausea may result in vomiting if relief is not sought. Slow and deep abdominal breathing can help as well as the application of a cool compress on the back of your neck or forehead.

Below are some foods that can help prevent or ease symptoms of exercise-induced nausea.

Starchy Foods

Foods such as pretzels and crackers can help absorb stomach acid, which can ease stomach upset and nausea. Grab a handful of pretzels or white saltine crackers about 30 minutes before your run.


Ginger is a well-known ailment for stomach upset. It may work to relieve nausea in the middle of a workout as well. Grab some ginger snap cookies before a workout. This gives you both a carbohydrate benefit as well as the anti-nausea benefit of the ginger. You can also carry ginger candies on your run to pop one in your mouth if you feel a bout of queasiness coming on.

Whole Grains

Some people experience nausea while running because their glycogen stores are low. Complex carbs like whole grains may help by slowly release energy into your body and bloodstream, which can help to keep your appetite satisfied.

Nut Butters

Nut butters like peanut, almond or cashew may help reduce nausea if eaten in small portions due to their sodium content. Be careful not to eat too much as it can upset your stomach before exercise.

Coconut Water

Coconut water offers hydration and electrolytes. Dehydration and electrolyte loss (often due to sweat) can both lead to feelings of nausea. Coconut water offers sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium.

5 Ways to Make Treadmill Running More Fun

Whether it is inclement weather, a crazy schedule or travel that is preventing you from running outdoors, heading to the treadmill can be a great way to keep fitness levels up when running outdoors is unappealing. But treadmill workouts can be a dread, so here are some ways to make running in place a little more exciting. Staying in shape through terrain that is hard to work through and bad weather will fly by with these tips.

Interval Training

Interval training is one of the best ways to get a workout in on the treadmill. It gets your heart rate up while burning the maximum amount of calories through periods of both high and low intensity. Not to mention that running at one pace for a long time period can make time creep by slowly. Change things up with intervals, which offer a quick and effective way to burn a lot of calories. Switch up your incline and speed, such as jogging at a pace that is comfortable for two minutes then sprinting for 30 seconds. You can also alternate between running and doing weight lifting bursts.

Watch a TV Show

One of the benefits of indoor treadmill workouts is that many gyms have televisions near the treadmills (or on them) to distract you. Look for a movie that interests you or a TV show to occupy your mind while you run so you don’t get bored watching the clock or mileage slowly creep by. This is a great option if you have a show you love to watch. Make a deal with yourself that instead of watching the show at home on the couch, watch it at the gym. You can also download the show on your phone or iPod if you do not have TV access on a treadmill.

Workout Playlists

Music is an excellent way to pump you up for a workout, but listening to the same playlist day in and day out can be a drag. Make a specific playlist for your workouts to keep you from getting tired of the same tunes. Look for upbeat music that will not only distract you from the treadmill but will keep you motivated and going at a faster pace.

Play a Card Game

This is not a joke. Play a treadmill card game to keep things fun, like this treadmill game. Grab four index cards and write the words “jog,” “sprint,” “run” or “walk” on each card. Warm up for a mile or so and draw a card. Do whatever it says for three to four minutes until you have made it through all four.

Hit the Gym with a Friend

Take a friend with you to the gym. Chat while you work out and spend time together. Challenge each other too with fun interval workouts or races. Having a friend alongside you will make your workout more fun while inspiring you to keep pushing!

Tips to Help You Get Faster at Sprinting

Do you want to get faster but feel like you have hit a wall in terms of increasing your speed? Rest assured that this happens to many people. One of the main factors is form. Sprinting form is different than the form you have during an easy jog or run. The movement patters are similar in that one foot still needs to go in front of the other but sprinting form is more dynamic and explosive, requiring more power and muscle activation. The best way to get faster at sprinting is to nail down the basics. Follow these steps to increase your sprinting speed.

Warm Up

It is of utmost importance that you warm up your muscles adequately when you want to run hard. The harder you run, the more warmed up they need to be. Start out by walking and easy running for five to ten minutes, including dynamic exercises or drills such as skipping, butt kickers, and high knees.

Posture, Core, and Form

Ensure your torso stays upright while running – not bent forward. Your shoulders should be relaxed and away from your ears. Engage your core. Consider adding core-strengthening moves into your workouts, such as side planks with reach, to give you extra power to push forward.

When you run, try to keep your feet going in a circular motion, raising your thighs until they become parallel with the ground while driving your knees up and down.

Keep your arms in a bent position at 90 degrees. Your elbows should be driven backward to create momentum. This helps to ensure your force and momentum move in the same direction. Your sprinting arm swing is more exaggerated than that of a jog or easy run.

Focus on Landing

Your feet should land on your forefoot rather than your heel. Push off from your toes to push yourself forward, while keeping your feet flexed up in the direction of your shins. Try to run softer and quieter as well as this will not only help your sprinting speed but it may also help to reduce injury.


You can reduce wasted energy by relaxing and syncing your breathing with the rhythm of your feet as they hit the ground.

Shorten Your Stride

Do not try to take long strides – they only waste energy. Long strides produce more vertical energy, projecting more upward motion than forward motion. Rather, focus on your cadence speed by taking shorter strides when you sprint. You will run faster and more efficiently this way.

Rolling Starts

Rolling starts are an excellent way to help decipher the difference between walking, jogging, running, and sprinting. Begin by walking, increasing your speed every ten seconds, until you get to a sprinting speed.

Increasing your sprinting speed does not happen overnight. Take part in high-intensity sprint training and your body will gradually begin to adapt to the workout’s demands. Stick with it and you will undoubtedly see improvements not only in your running fitness level but also your overall health.

4 Tips for Making Time for Running

Struggling to fit in your workouts? Here are some tips.

Let’s face it – life is busy. Whether your regular agenda includes loads of homework, housework or job work, you have a lot going on. Your desire to run is great but your responsibilities are even greater. Making time to run with an already busy schedule requires some creativity and a whole lot of commitment, but it can be done. You don’t have to spend hours a day training to achieve your running goals. Here are some excellent tips to help you squeeze in running with an already busy schedule.

Treat Your Workouts Like they are Appointments

This is one of the best ways to ensure you get your runs in. If you tell yourself you will run when you find time, you may never get your run in. There is almost always something that will come up and the day will be over before you know it. To ensure you are able to get out of the door (or onto the treadmill) for a run, treat it like an appointment and schedule it ahead of time. Write it in your planner, set an alarm on your phone for the time you want to lace up your sneakers and stick with it. You wouldn’t show up late to a work meeting, so approach your workouts with the same mentality.

It may be beneficial to check the forecast the night before in the event that inclement weather may force you to adjust your running “appointment” time.

Focus on Quality Rather than Quantity

Although you may have friends who log 50 or more miles on a weekly basis, you do not need to run that many miles (not even to train for a marathon)! There are more ways to train for a race than reaching for the stars in terms of mileage quantity. In fact, focusing on quantity is not even the best way in some cases (if adequate sleep and recovery time are interfered with in order to attain high mileage goals).

Instead, focus on the quality of your workouts. If you can only run three days a week, have a long run, an interval workout and an easy to moderate run. You do not need to run more than 30 to 60 minutes per run if you are deliberate in purpose. Seek to add more intensity to your workouts rather than miles.

Prepare the Night Before

Take time to dig out your running clothes the night before, regardless of what time of day you plan to run. If you plan to run on break at work, pack your bag the night before. Have a pre-run snack ready and make sure your phone is fully charged (or take a charger with you to work to plug it in ahead of time, thus eliminating that excuse). If feasible, go ahead and prep a post-meal snack as well so you can refuel quickly after your run.

Know It Is Okay to Miss a Run

If you miss a run for some reason, remind yourself it is okay and it does not mean your entire training plan is done-for. One or two missed runs will not ruin your fitness goals. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss an occasional run or throw in the towel altogether. Just carry on with your planned training and your body will make up for lost time!