How to Start Enjoying Running

A recent article in Glamour about running caught my eye. I constantly hear people tell me they hate to run, but wish they enjoyed it.  Before you throw on your shoes and hit the road, make sure you’ve set yourself up for success. 
Glamour lists these as the main points in enjoying running:

  1. Wear the right shoes
  2. Ease into it
  3. Run on gravel, dirt or a treadmill
  4. Think about running light and tall
  5. Cross train
  6. Commit to finishing at least one mile

These are great tips. However, there are three more that would have made it to the top of my list. The following may help you to start running and enjoying the sport or hobby . . .

  1. Wear the right shoes AND CLOTHES.  The development of Dri-FIT fabric has done wonders for my running. Now, I can remain comfortable.
  2. Cold or warm weather?  My favorite temperature to run is 55 degrees.  I am not a fan of the heat or humidity and, therefore, I do not run in the summer.  It is best to pick the time of year you most enjoy to make running more pleasurable.
  3. Run/walk.  There is no shame in taking walk breaks since they allow you rest, assess any injuries, and minimize stress to your joints.  Rather than committing to a full mile of running (which may be discouraging), beginners should start by alternating walking and running instead of attempting to run the full mile. You will gradually be able to run a full mile once you get acclimated.

So, what are you waiting for? There’s no time like the present to lace up those sneakers and give running a try!

The Importance of Hydration

Recently, a friend proudly announced that he drinks one glass of water every two weeks, and that his body composition scale shows his water content to be 70 percent.  His assumption was that he didn’t need to drink any more water than he currently does.  At that moment, I realized most people do not understand what it means to be properly hydrated.
How much water should you really be drinking?
Approximately 75 percent of Americans are in a chronic state of dehydration.  Dehydration can lead to vague symptoms such as constipation, headaches, light-headedness, loss of skin elasticity, increased heart rate, muscle cramps and excessive urination.  The requirement for men is three liters per day and for women it is just over two liters per day.  However, this number is not absolute.  There are other factors to consider such as where you live, your general health and your activity level.
Adults older than 60 years of age who drink water only when thirsty are likely only getting 90 percent of the water they need.  They are already in moderate dehydration which is defined by loss of 5-10 percent of the body’s fluid.  Loss of 10 to 15 percent of the body’s fluid is considered severe.  
Is it really that important to drink water?
Adequate hydration has numerous benefits.  Every cell, tissue and organ in your body depends on water to work efficiently.  Water reduces fatigue by improving the efficiency of reactions that take place on a cellular level.  
If that’s not enough to convince you, maybe this is . . .
Fat deposits increase in a state of dehydration.  Theoretically, this occurs because the efficiency of the kidneys is diminished and its functions are shunted to the liver.  The liver’s job is to metabolize fat into usable energy. However, since it is performing the kidney’s duties, it is less able to metabolize fat.  
Increased water intake can also decrease the risk of colon and bladder cancer.  
Generally, Americans consume more soda and coffee than water, but they believe they are well hydrated.  
As for the scale showing a water content of 70 percent, it is important to remember that these scales are not completely accurate and they are unable measure how much water a body needs to carry out its many functions. These functions include regulating body temperature, forming saliva, flushing waste through urination, and lubricating our joints, to name a few.  One glass of water every two weeks is definitely not enough to accomplish all those tasks.
If you don’t drink enough water, what’s your main reason for not drinking more?