What running means to your body. Understanding the physiological effects running has on your body is vital, whether you’re seasoned or a rookie.
Here are a few points to look into:
Stomach pain or cramping is a common problem because our body drives the blood away from the gut and towards the muscles. A big meal before a run is never a good idea. Opt for something light like a piece of fruit or sandwich.
Generally speaking, the amount of energy-in versus the energy-out is what determines our weight, and running can create a calorie deficit and promote fat loss through energy expenditure.
Along with endurance, running also strengthens bones and muscles and bolsters metabolism. However, at a certain point, lean muscle will stop to increase with running, as the repetitive nature of running only requires a certain level of muscle recruitment for sustainability.
It seems that our body temperature increases as we run, particularly the case in hot weather. However, your sweat can actually decrease the core body temperature, especially in colder climates. It can, in some cases, cause hypothermia.
Wear layers that can be added or removed as necessary to protect you from cold or hot weather injury.
The runner’s high is true. Running long distances triggers the release of endorphins, brain chemicals that produce feelings of euphoria. It can even go so far as to numb the body from physical pain.
Heart And Lungs
When we pick up the pace, so do our heart and lungs. It’s their co-task to flow oxygen-rich blood to our muscles in order to keep them firing. Just like other muscles, our heart experiences fatigue.
So it’s just as important to train the heart to endure long distances as it is to train our legs. Each time you run, the idea is to maximize your oxygen intake. It measures the efficiency of your oxygen use. A higher oxygen uptake allows your muscles to increase their capacity to efficiently create energy.
Yes, there are some downsides to running. Mainly in the way of injury. Your joints and muscles undergo significant stress. It’s common for runners to experience shin splints, joint tendinitis (swelling), muscle tears and even heart stress.
Around 40 percent of running injuries start in the knees, which can be avoided with a balance of strength training and consistent stretching after running, combined with good running shoes.
Preparation is key. Build up, train your muscles and joints for endurance to allow optimal adaptation. Properly fuel your body before and after a long run, with adequate recovery periods in between.