To boost my weight loss initiative, I decided to restart my jogging regimen on the third day after my CoolSculpting treatment. There was still mild numbness and soreness of the areas treated but certainly not enough to blunt my commitment to restart running!
How to make running manageable, even enjoyable
Can running be fun? Can it be manageable even for beginners who haven’t exercised for years? Yes, it can if you do it with the right mindset and preparation. Here are some tips that I hope will be useful to those planning to get started or who wants to give running another chance:
1. Use an app and possibly a smartwatch
Everybody, and I mean everybody (especially those who want to lose weight like myself), should get a running app. I may be wrong, but I believe that most people still do not fully understand how useful running apps are. These tools are super easy to use. Anybody can quickly learn to use running apps to monitor a variety of parameters to make jogging more fun, informative, and scientific.
The app that I use is Runkeeper, which keeps track of my timing, distance, and average pace. It even lets me know how many calories I have lost per workout and it has a Spotify button that connects you directly to the music app. These parameters are very useful to challenge ourselves and even our friends. It also makes jogging fun and fresh. Using an Apple Watch or Fitbit makes tracking even more convenient. Plus, they also function as heart rate monitors.
As you can see below, my run timing is faster than it was a year ago. Yeah!
2. Best time to run is in the morning
Why? That is because there is no better way to increase our productivity than to wake up earlier. Exercise before things get really busy. The air is fresher in the morning and you get an after-exercise high from the endorphins that you produce. Endorphins are natural substances produced in the brain during exercise, which makes you happy and full. I simply cannot think of a better way to start the day. Enough said….
3. Wear comfortable shoes appropriate for you
Always run with a pair of comfortable running shoes that is right for you. It’s very important to find the right shoe type in the right size to prevent any possible injuries from happening. Different people have different shaped feet. People with flat foot (or over-pronators) benefit from shoes with more support while people with high foot arches (under-pronators) benefit from shoes that have more cushion. There are tons of information on the web on shoe types and specialty running shops can even do the analysis for you. Get the right shoe and save yourself a lot of heartaches later!
4. Warm-up and cool down
Studies have shown that doing warm-up exercises prevent injury. Do not try to overstretch as your muscles have not warmed up yet. Constant stretching exercises like what you see below, without jerky movements, prepare the muscles to work hard later during the run. Cooling down by doing simple stretches is just as important as it brings your heart rate back down slowly, giving your heart time to reorganise and recuperate.
Studies have also shown that cooling down improves the heart’s ability to remodel itself after exercise to become more efficient after exercise, increasing its pumping capacity by enlarging its storage chambers and muscles. So please remember to give your heart time to improve itself after your next exercise session.
5. Listen to music
When I run, I like listening to music which helps me keep pace and keeps me entertained. In fact, Spotify has a “Running” feature, which matches the music to your running pace. It is worth checking out as it plays a wide genre of music ranging from top hits to even Indie and Latin tunes. I have even seen grandmothers with their portable radio, which is playing a Teochew opera while taking a brisk walk in the garden. So let the music move you!
6. Safety first!
Be aware of your environment. Cars, wet surfaces and uneven flooring have one thing in common. They can hurt you when you run, so please be careful. And yes, that’s a $50 note you see clasped between my phone and the phone cover (pictured above). It’s always good to bring some spare cash in case of emergency, like if it starts to rain or if I pull a muscle while running, at least I know I can always hail a cab for a ride home.
I always tell my patients that losing weight should not a painful process. We shouldn’t feel like we are suffering. Slow and steady is always better, and make it fun along the way. If losing weight becomes a chore because of the calorie counting and exercising, then there is no impetus to do it at all and we will give up. Let’s get moving together!