Running is extremely beneficial to both physical and mental wellbeing. It can impact all bodily systems – from reducing your chances of catching the common cold, to lowering your risk of cancer, to strengthening your muscles and bones reducing your chance of developing osteoporosis. Running is one of the most effective ways to improve the aerobic conditioning of your lungs and heart. As your cardiovascular health is enhanced, your blood pressure is reduced, the elasticity in your arteries increases, and your resting heart rate is lowered. All of which diminish your chance of heart attack and stroke, and improve circulation throughout your body.
Emotional benefits, though harder to prove with statistics, have been reported by runners time and again. The “runner’s high” is a physiologic change in your endorphin levels which lower the effects of depression and reduce stress. Running can literally be a mood changer as well as a life changer. Those who engage in daily exercise are more likely to make healthier food choices throughout the day. And consistent aerobic exercise combined with a healthy diet will result in weight loss and improved self-image, as well as reduced symptoms of depression.
But where do you start? Running is one of the easiest and least expensive hobbies/activities. All you need is a pair of shoes. And then it is just you and the road, wherever you are.
On the other hand, if you are a social person, joining a running group or signing up for local races are great ways to stay motivated and ensure you accomplish your goals. The Vail Recreation District offers a trail running series throughout the summer varying in distances from 3 to 14 miles.
A word of caution if you decide to step out your front door and start stepping a little faster until you are at a jog or run…start slow and listen to your body. Build a running base gradually, one mile to one-half mile at a time. Never increase your total mileage by more than 10-15 percent per week. Your pace should be comfortable and you should be able to hold a conversation. As your endurance improves try increasing your speed so that the conversation is interrupted with heavy breathing, pushing your cardiovascular system. Lastly, get proper footwear based on your body-type, arch of foot, and type of running you plan on doing (road vs. trail).
Typical running shoes are classified into four main categories: motion control shoes for heavier weight runners with flat arches who have a tendency to over-pronate; stability shoes for medium to light-weight runners who have the tendency to over-pronate and need stiffness built into the arch of the shoe to help support their natural arch; cushion shoes for the medium to light-weight runner with high arches who stays in a neutral to supinated position as they run; and performance shoes for race day for runners who do not require additional arch support – these shoes are lightweight and are not made for excessive mileage.
Looking to give running a try? The Vitality Center at Vail Mountain Lodge & Spa offers classes two times per week at 7:00am with Ellen Miller. Ellen will take you off the road and on the trails for a invigorating running workout incorporating intervals, pacing, hill training and endurance training. Learn More 970.476.7960.
 Pronation: medial longitudinal arch collapses, foot flattens to the ground, heel turns inward, stressing the medial soft tissue foot structures if over-pronation occurs.
 Supination: The opposite of pronation. The outward roll of the foot, maintaining medial longitudinal arch, pressure on the outside portion of your foot, can stress the outer ankle ligaments if over-supination occurs.