Recreational running as the name suggests is leisure or fun running. Though running has been around for as long as the humans have existed, recreational running has become more common in today’s world. Where as some people have made recreational running part of their lifestyles most of them have still yet to get started. Knowing the benefits of recreational running is a vital part in making the decision whether to pursue it or not. Before we look at how to get started with fitness or leisure running, here are some of the main benefits:
o Promotes healthy lifestyle, helps in losing extra body weight
o Reduces life related stresses and brain fatigue
o Refreshes and relaxes the mind hence the whole body
o Improves the general body strength, endurance, power and stamina by building muscle
o Can lead to competitive running sometimes
o Boosts the immunity of the body (most people who engage in recreational running rarely get sick)
o Great form of entertainment
These are just a few of the benefits, but the next question is how can someone with no prior experience start recreational running? Here are some of the helpful tips to help you get started and continue to make it part of your lifestyle:
1. Do your physicals: – Seek medical advice from your physician to make sure that your health status can allow you to pursue recreational running. It is especially important for people who are overweight to consult with their physician to ensure that they are physically able to run or jog without overstressing their body systems.
2. Find a trainer or coach: – Once you have been cleared by your physician, you need to sit down with your trainer or personal instructor who will advise you accordingly. With the help of your trainer or coach, set some realistic goals. Your trainer can help you decide on the right training shoe and tracksuit. Remember to start slow, it is really tempting to put too much on your plate the first time and not be able to get started. Most people get discouraged early in the process as a result of taking too many steps at one time. One step at a time is all you need and before you know, one step becomes a mile and a mile eventually becomes a couple of miles each day. Your goals should not become an obsession; but rather they should just be motivating factors. Remember recreational running should be fun and entertaining not a job.
3. Join recreational runner friends, groups or clubs: Unlike other recreational sports such as indoor games, fitness running is more challenging physically and mentally. Having other people with similar or same interests around is significant for progress. This is especially important for support when the going becomes more challenging. It is also easier to achieve your goals if you treat recreational running as a social activity, after all you are having fun with friends. If for some reason you can’t find others to run or jog with, you can always take your dog for company, he/she will really enjoy doing that and it is great for his/her health too.
4. Participate in fun competitive races: One good goal to include in recreational running is to compete on fun road running. This is a great motivator for both beginners and experienced recreational runners alike. Running or jogging and finishing a 5 K, 10K, half marathon fun race is a wonderful experience that only the competitor is able to explain. There is something special about running with hundreds or thousands of other runners. By this point, recreational running will have become part of your live.
5. Take breaks to recover: I am sure you trainer or coach is knowledgeable enough to include breaks in your training program. The body needs to recover in order for it to make any progress. The principle behind improving your performance in any sport whether recreational or professional is “recovery and adaptation”. The simple explanation of this principle is, training stresses the body, but recovery enables it to recover and adapt to the new level of stress. So the more you train the better you become as long as you recover and do everything else right. Ideally, you can rest 1 – 3 days every week depending on your level of training and your goals. It is also significant to take a complete rest once every few months and do something else like swimming, playing tennis or anything else you enjoy doing other than running for fun.
Other key points to take into account for successful recreational running include:
o Eating healthy: always stay on top of healthy balance diet. It will only help your progress if you eat right, you don’t have to worry about counting calories.
o Hydrate always: Remember almost 75 percent of our bodies are made up of fluids. It is always healthy to drink as much water as possible. This can be supplemented with sports drinks or 100 percent juices. Avoid drinking carbonated drinks if you can, they only help to dehydrate your body.
o Supplements are vital: Mineral and vitamin supplements are crucial for your body’s well being especially when you are involved in recreational sport of any kind.
This is not an exhaustive guide to recreational running but it is a good starting place. There are numerous resources to find more information online. Start recreational running today and enjoy a new fulfilling healthy lifestyle.