Have a proper warm-up, don't rush your conditioning program. Work up to your goal gradually Start with walking if you never been running, at least one week before any running. Working up slowly to more strenuous effort is important. Not only to accustom the heart to the new demands, but also to let tendons and muscles adjust themselves to the new activity. |
Warm-up properly Any athlete knows that the body doesn't spring suddenly into high gear from a state of rest. It needs a period of gradual warm-up before any strenuous effort, in order to minimize muscle and joint problems. This is paarticularly important for people over the age of forty.
The following five minute routine is recommended: 1. Do stretching exercises for arms, legs and back during the 1st minute. 2. Do sit-ups (with your knees bend) during the second minute. 3. Walk in a circle at a fairly rapid pace for the 3rd minute. 4. During the 4th minute, alternate 15 secs of walking with 15 secs of jogging. 5. During the 5th minute, jog continiously at a very slow speed, approx at the rate of 12 – 13 min.mile.
Stay flat-footed as much as possible during your warm-up run. That will give the tendons in your feet and ankles a change to stretch gradually, helping to avoid irritation from sudden stress.
After this five-minute routine, start your regular aerobic workout. If you are going to participate in some kind of endurance activity. e.g a three-mile run, the running part of the warm-up may be incorporated into the first few minutes of the activity itself.
Exercise within your tolerance One basic rule to be aware of in entering an exercise program is this: Avoid straining and pushing yourself to the extent that you become overly fatigued. Such intens effort at the outset of an exercise program is not only dangerous, it also defeats your basic purpose. Instead of feeling more fit and more vigorous, you just feel chronically tired.
Cool down slowly While a warm-up is a generally excepted practice, few people realize that the body also needs a cooling-down period after exercise. They slump into complete relaxation immediately after exercise. This can cause dizzy spells, fainting and even more serious consequences. Strange as it sounds, you must get ready for rest. Five minute of walking or very slow jogging eases the transition between running and resting.
Foot and ankle troubles Foot and ankle problems are the most frequenly encountered exercise problems. The human foot is a marvel of engineering, but it is not well adapted for pounding hard pavements or hard floors.
Because of this, some runners develop back pains, leg muscle pains, and swollen ankles. Others develop achilles tendonitis – soreness and inflammation of the big tendon connecting the heel with the calf. Tendonitis even strikes well-trained athletes, usually witout warning, and it may take several weeks to clear up. Occasionally tendonitis occurs when a runner resumes regular workouts, after a period of long layoff.
Picking the right kind of rrunning shoes is probably the biggest factor in avoiding ankle, foot and leg problems. Light, crosscountry shoes are best for running on hard surfaces, but I prefer special long- distance , ripple-sole shoes. The best of these has cushioned inner soles made of some spongy material that gives springy resillience to your step. Avoid standard basketball or tennis shoes, which have an unusually hard sole. As for socks, it's entirely up to you whether you prefer cotton or nylon. One disadvantage of nylon socks is that they don't absorb perspiration. Cotton absorbs perspiration, but doesn't insulate as well against friction.
Knee and leg problems The most common leg problem with runners is “shin splints”. The symptoms are pain and tightness in the muscles in the front of the leg below the knee. Shin splints usually result from running on hard surfaces with hard shoes and are successfully treated by running on soft surfaces with cushioned-sole shoes.
Muuscle cramps or spasms in the legs are not uncommon during the early stages of an excercise program. A muscle only partially conditioned is especially likely to develop cramps. However, this is a transient problem, usually diaappearing when a good state of fitness is reached.
Back trouble Some people dvelop pain in the lower back, due to exclusively jogging on hard surfaces. This is not a serious matter, but the discomfort can usually be avoided by supplementing jogging with some calisthenic exercise, for example 15 – 20 repetitions of both sit-ups with the knees bent and push-ups. These exercises strengthen the back and help to relieve back pain. Cyclists also complain of back aches and they should try also the same calisthenic routines.
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