Since the beginning of human history, running was considered a competitive sport by many ancient civilizations. Although some running records were a form of sports and competition before the Greek period, the famous "Marathon" made running popular. The legend has it that after the Greek army’s victory in the battle of Marathon, a messenger ran from the battlefield to Athens to deliver the news. The distance he covered running was approximately 40 kilometers. Unfortunately, he collapsed and died right after giving the notice. It is said that 40 kilometers run was hence called the Marathon.
In our modern communities, many people practice some form of running, either as a recreational activity or at a level. Probably even more people consider starting to run or want to do it more effectively and sustainably. As for every type of sport helps to review one’s goals before beginning the activity itself. Do you want to do it at a competitive level or just for mild exercise? Would you prefer to run indoors or outdoors? What type of setting and equipment would be needed to keep up with the practice throughout the year? Answering these questions beforehand would help integrate a running habit that would fit individual preferences and last for a lifetime.
The scientific community well acknowledges countless health benefits of running. Regular running might decrease the risk of heart diseases by half. To have these benefits, it is not even required to run long distances every day. The keyword here is 'regularly.' Studies show that even brief periods of running – even 5 to 10 minutes – might have significant health benefits if done regularly. Running also helps with mental health! Some studies show that running improves mood and provides an increased sense of well-being. There are even ongoing studies evaluating the effectiveness of running for the treatment of depression.
As with every other sportive activity, certain risks associated with running everyone interested in this sport should be aware of. Some minor injuries to ligaments of soft tissues could occur with trips and falls. Although studies show contradictory results, there is a risk of damage to the knee cartilages with long-term running. If the runner is not aware of his physical fitness level and capabilities and tries to push too hard beyond his limits, rare but more serious adverse events could occur. These facts should be acknowledged well but should not deter an aspiring runner from starting this sport. Running is generally considered a safe sport, and associated risks could be minimized by taking the appropriate preventive measures.
It is essential to be aware of one’s health status before starting a new exercise regimen. If there are underlying health conditions such as heart or lung disease, it is always good to consult with the physician and talk about the benefits and risks in length. There could be precautions to follow or things to consider according to the condition. The body generates signals that alert the person for over-exhaustion, such as palpitations and difficulty breathing. These signals should not be ignored for the sake of pushing through the limits, especially for beginners. Monitoring the heart with a watch or wristband will help to keep the heart rate within the desired interval. If this is not available, always keep in mind the motto 'Listen to your body!'
Having comfortable and fitting shoes would help to prevent injuries. There are many different kinds of shoes for running, and it is not a 'one size fits all recipe. Some people are more comfortable with specially designed running shoes, while others prefer a more bare-foot type of feeling. Whatever the choice is, it should be made sure that the size is fitting. It is also important to wear suitable clothes for the weather. While listening to music is an indispensable part of the practice, it should not prevent someone from hearing an approaching vehicle or a horn to avoid an imminent accident.
Running is an enjoyable, healthy, and relatively safe sport. It is a unique experience for each individual, and everyone can find a regimen or routine that works best for him. Joining in with a running club is a good idea which would help with commitment. If this is not possible, you can find a running buddy such as a friend or family member. It is now well known that being accountable to someone else increases sustainability and helps with sticking to a habit. Today we celebrate the first Wednesday of every June as Global Running Day. By signing up through a website, people pledge to run on a specified date. This gathering aims to provide a global sense of commitment and increase awareness for healthier running habits.
Nowadays, science knows a lot more about running than ancient Greeks, and we don't have to run long distances to deliver news at the risk of our lives. We can use this knowledge to our benefit to create healthy running habits that would accompany us for a lifetime.