Friday, October 22, 2010

5 Ways to Make Your Runs Exciting

5 Ways to Make Your Runs Exciting

A lot of people adopt running so that they could meet their weight loss and fitness goals. They start with a bang and run with a vigor and enthusiasm. But slowly and steadily, the novelty wears out and then comes a point when even a thought of waking up early in the morning and putting on those jogging shoes can seem like a daunting task.
Runners who lose weight or maintain their weight make sure they run regularly or at least 3 or 4 times a week. But running is a repetitive activity which for too many people will seem like a very mundane and boring way to exercise. Well, help is at hand. Here are a few ways by which you can make your running exciting everyday.

              New route every time:
One of the basic reasons why running is boring is because people take the same route day in and day out. As a result your mind forms a basic map of the route and then it does not need to focus on the route anymore. Now it can focus on irrelevant things like how bored you are or how tired you are. All these factors go against your running performance and will hamper your weight loss plans. The best way to avoid it is to take a new route every single time you head for a run. Avoid running in boring, mind numbing areas. Make sure you get a fantastic view when you are running. These could be at the beach, by a river or even in the forest.
             Run on Sand:
Running on the beach is an extremely invigorating experience. But at the same time, it is also a very challenging experience because the surface is soft and the body requires more energy with every running step. Not only does it help strengthen your lower leg muscles (ankles, arches and calves), but it's also easier on the joints and burn more calories than running on hard surface. However, running on sand also makes you more prone to certain injuries. You can easily strain your Achilles tendons and calves if you are not careful. Before you start running on sand, make sure you have good running shoes, and keep to the wet, compact sand near the shoreline.
             Run backwards:
This does sound like a bit ridiculous thing to do but running backwards actually works for your stabilizer muscles and calves. Also known as retro running, backward running is a less natural motion, but can be accomplished with some speed with practice. It is better to start out with backward walking (also called retropedaling) which is relatively easy, and speeding up gradually. Like normal running, running up and down hills backwards adds an additional degree of difficulty. Running backwards offers an incredible workout, improves your balance and coordination, and burns more calories than normal running. It also places less stress on the knees. Just make sure you are doing it in a controlled environment and look around to make sure you are not running into things.

             Stair sprint:

You don't have to run on flat even surfaces. You can even add a challenge to your workout routine by sprinting up your building's stairs. Stair running is a great, high-intensity workout that helps build speed, power and cardiovascular fitness. Not only will it burn more calories (as it is an against-the-gravity activity), but it will also strengthen the muscles around the knees, and build stamina and overall lower body strength. So every now and then, skip the elevator and sprint up the stairs.

             Interval sprints:

Sprinting or Short bouts of very intense running helps the body to utilize the oxygen effectively and to build up your stamina. When on the treadmill or on the street, do not run at a constant pace because your body eventually gets used to the activity and doesn't benefit much. Several published studies have suggested that sprint interval training burns body fat and builds endurance faster than slower paced endurance exercises. A sprint workout is also great for days when you don't have too much time to run but want to fit in a short effective workout.

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