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Health & Wellbeing

Why running is good for your health

Running rewards your body and mind

Regular running, combining a variety of durations and intensities, acts on all physiological and psychological systems in an integrated way. 

With consistency, fitness gains are imminent. Indeed, aerobic fitness is now globally recognised as one of the most significant predictors of all-cause morbidity and mortality. 

Furthermore, running provides the greatest bang for buck when it comes to developing, increasing and maintaining aerobic fitness.

Compelling adaptations to running training

Changes in muscle to improve regulation of insulin and glucose

Enhanced bone remodelling and strength (bone mineral density)

Enhanced fat metabolism

Weight loss

Stronger muscles, heart and lungs

Healthy blood pressure 

Elevated release of hormones that make you feel good

Reduced levels of fatigue 

Why choose running over other modes of exercise?

We are born to run – need I say more!

Convenience – anytime, anywhere. Running shoes, shorts & t-shirt, and off you go

Bang for buck – expend 1-3 times more energy than walking, swimming, cycling 

Fitness gains -  faster rate of change in aerobic fitness compared to other modes of exercise

Weight bearing – unlike swimming and cycling, running is weight bearing, important for bone and muscle health 

Liberating – what better way to see the countryside, towns and cities

How to get the best out of your run

New to running? Read this first! https://www.blackmores.com.au/energy/beginners-guide-to-running

If you are affected by ill-health, see an exercise physiologist for a suitable starting point

A little, often, is better than a lot, less often. Eg. 20min 3-4 times per week vs 60min once per week

When you feel comfortable jogging 15-20min, start to incorporate short runs at a quicker pace. Steady but sustainable

Including 1 or 2 higher intensity interval sessions per week (see examples below) is the most effective way to improve your fitness and lower blood glucose

Sample session #1: 

Warm up - Jog easy 4min, run steady 3min, jog easy 1min

Hill run intervals – 20s hard, 40s walk/jog recovery; repeat x5. Increase x1 efforts each week to a maximum of x10

Warm down – jog easy 5min

** pace the intervals so your pace doesn’t drop away too much 

Sample session #2: 

Warm up - Jog easy 4min, run steady 2min, 3x50m hard (30s recovery), jog easy 1min

Park intervals – 15s hard, 15s recovery; 30s hard, 30s recovery; 45s hard, 45s recovery. 3min walk/jog, then repeat.

Warm down – jog easy 5min

Running is medicine, good luck!

Dr Simon Sostaric is the founder of Melbourne Sports & Allied Health Clinic (msahc.com.au) and also consults in Sydney at the Inner West Allied Health & Specialist Centre (alliedhealth.net.au).

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