We've tapped two of our experts, Shakira Warner, VP of Population Health Management at Argus, and Dave Wolffe, founder of FIT4LIFE and coach of our Argus Running Club, to share insights on the holistic benefits of running.
Physical and Mental Health Benefits
Running is a low-cost, easily accessible form of exercise that can help improve your quality of life. But before you begin any new exercise routine or programme, it’s important to speak to your primary care doctor to make sure it’s safe.
For those living with chronic conditions, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do to manage your symptoms and overall health. “Adding daily exercise into your life, along with eating well, taking your medications appropriately and managing stress, can significantly reduce the risk of your disease progressing. In some cases, for people with diabetes and high blood pressure, these lifestyle changes can even reverse it,” says Warner.
Beyond the physical benefits, running can give a great sense of accomplishment and support mental health. “The ‘runner’s high’ is real,” says Warner. “Endorphins, the ‘feel-good hormone,’ are released, which is known to boost mood and self-confidence.” And running as part of a group can provide social connection, motivation and healthy competition — all good things for your well-being.
Hot Weather Running
In Bermuda, heat and humidity brings challenges when running, taking the right precautions ensures you can stay active all year round. It’s recommended to speak with a medical professional if you feel any discomfort during your exercise routines.
As a general rule, doing relaxed base runs for at least two weeks is a good way to help your body adjust to running in the heat. Always bring electrolytes on your run, rehydrate every 20 minutes and stick to the shade where possible. And always remember, if it feels too hot out, you should delay your run to a cooler time of the day.
Get Started on the Right Foot
Coach Dave shares some tips for anyone considering starting a training routine.
Find Your Right Distance
The key for beginners is to keep to shorter distances and then gradually increase running time to build endurance and avoid injuries. Working towards a goal like a half-marathon (13.1 miles), requires actively training for months or even years.
Add Strength and Stretching
Doing a mix of at-home exercises such as squats, lunges, calf raises, hip thrusts and core exercises can help improve your running form along with overall strength and endurance.
Relax for Good Form
One of the key tips for any exercise is to relax your muscles, especially shoulders, for better form. Focus on good breathing patterns, taking those nice, long, deep breaths.
Know Your "Why"
Set personal goals. Knowing why you’re putting the hard work in will help keep you motivated, especially during the tough moments. Once you’ve established your goals, it’s helpful to seek out a professional trainer who can then help you achieve them.
If you’re inspired and want some support, check out Get Up & Thrive., our year-round health and wellness programme powered by the app TicTrac. Join in running challenges to stay motivated, plus, meet our goal of 150 active minutes a week and you’ll be rewarded $5 a week, up to $260 a year!