Running therapy: lace up to boost mental health

Running affects your mood Do you lace up to feel better? Studies show that aerobic exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression. Not to mention, with side effects such as improved health and weight management rather than the bloating and sexual dysfunction associated with pharmaceuticals. Running therapy is the…

Running therapy: lace up to boost mental health was originally published on Self Evolve

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Running affects your mood

running therapyDo you lace up to feel better? Studies show that aerobic exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression. Not to mention, with side effects such as improved health and weight management rather than the bloating and sexual dysfunction associated with pharmaceuticals. Running therapy is the first-line treatment for depression in Australia, the UK, and the Netherlands. The US is a little slower on updating their guidelines. How does moving the body change the mind? It’s actually more than just endorphins. The emerging view of running’s ability to improve mental health also takes into account long-term structural changes in the brain as well as subjective states like mood and cognition. Science continues working to explain the theory behind what we runners already know from practice.

Running changes how you think

In any one year, about 10 percent of the US population would meet the diagnostic criteria for depression, and about 20 percent for anxiety. The incidence of these conditions in runners is likely similar. A 2017 review of research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found no difference in depressive symptoms between what researchers called “high-performance athletes” and non-athletes. All levels of runners are affected. But running helps you think and process things differently. It helps you think objectively. For me, it helps me realize that things I think are a huge deal aren’t in the scheme of things. When you focus on accomplishing a task like a 4 mile run, it kicks off a positive feedback loop that continues throughout the run and takes our thinking and emotions out of the trench of negativity.

Running therapy for everyone

You don’t have to be an ultra-marathoner to get the benefits of running. But research does show an added benefit to those who regularly run and/or exercise. The mood improvement and energy boost is higher for those who normally workout. This is because runners can hold a good pace for a long time without going anaerobic, allowing for the physiological processes that lead to improved mood, according to Panteleimon Ekkekakis, Ph. D., a professor at Iowa State University who is a leading figure in the field of exercise physiology. “If you’re a regular runner, you have the cardiorespiratory fitness to sustain an exercise intensity that’s associated with a feel-better effect.” Anyone can become a regular runner by simply adding in running or cardio workouts three times a week.

Do you run? Does it help you feel better?

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Running therapy: lace up to boost mental health was originally published on Self Evolve

Pizza and Beer: You can’t out-train a bad diet

I’m guilty as charged There are days where I just say “F it” and eat whatever I want. While these days are few and far between, I used to have these days all the time. There was at least a solid year when I was working out 3-5 times a week all while going home…

Pizza and Beer: You can’t out-train a bad diet was originally published on Self Evolve

I’m guilty as charged

bad dietThere are days where I just say “F it” and eat whatever I want. While these days are few and far between, I used to have these days all the time. There was at least a solid year when I was working out 3-5 times a week all while going home and pigging out on pizza 3-5 times a week. Ok, maybe not that bad, but it wasn’t good. My diet was crap, and you know what else was crap? How I felt. After suffering through the side effects of a year of this bad diet, I decided to completely change what and how I ate. And while now-a-days my diet isn’t as strict, I’ve found a happy middle ground between extreme dieting and eating whatever I want.

Even the world’s best trainer can’t out-train a bad diet

You could train 5 to 6 days a week with the best trainer in the world (i.e. me) but even then you couldn’t go home and pig out on pizza and beer everyday. I’m not saying you can never have these things, but to eat and drink them everyday is just too hard to combat via exercise. Also, a high carb diet will only help you so much. Without proper protein and the right fats, it will be very hard for your muscles to repair and grow stronger after a strength training session or a hard run

Many runners have an attitude that they will burn off whatever they eat. This may seem to be the case because you run and don’t gain weight despite eating whatever you want. But just because the number on the scale seems healthy, doesn’t mean your diet isn’t doing damage on the inside. Overindulgence in simple sugars is the single most common dietary transgression among any endurance athletes, especially runners. I.e. white bread, white pasta, white rice and refined sugars. Large portions of these will turn into bad molecules, bad types of fat, and bad oxidative sugar species- things that do damage to the heart vessels. 

Still, runners often hear mixed messages about how exercise can erase the ills of a junk food habit. Especially high-intensity sessions. While this may be the case over a few weeks, if you continue to have a bad diet for years there will be long-term effects. No matter how much you run or workout, you can’t outrun a bad diet.

Always hungry

But I’m always hungry! That’s because all you eat is carbs! Up the proteins and fats and you’ll feel full for longer. Carbs are important, but if they are the main source of your calories you’ll likely be eating an entire bag of chips rather than just a few. 

Do you try to out-run a bad diet?

 

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Pizza and Beer: You can’t out-train a bad diet was originally published on Self Evolve

Enjoy the great indoors: Bring your run inside

Standard treadmills are so yesterday.. Gone are the days of boring treadmill workouts. With the latest and greatest, indoor workouts for runners are actually enjoyable. Not only that, they are also helpful for runners to train smarter, recover faster, and prevent injury. Even though the weather is getting warmer, you still may want to bring…

Enjoy the great indoors: Bring your run inside was originally published on Self Evolve

Standard treadmills are so yesterday..

run insideGone are the days of boring treadmill workouts. With the latest and greatest, indoor workouts for runners are actually enjoyable. Not only that, they are also helpful for runners to train smarter, recover faster, and prevent injury. Even though the weather is getting warmer, you still may want to bring your run inside.

Sproing Fitness

Science shows that cross-training is a necessary component of any running routine. Sproing Fitness (Chicago) takes this to another level. They incorporate running, plyometrics, stability and strength work all into one 45-minute HIIT-style routine on an unique device. The Sproing is a treadmill-like machine that has an air bladder rather than a moving belt in order to customize the surface. You’ll cinch a waist-level harness which allows you to fall forward while running which lets you maintain proper form, land on your forefoot and avoid heel-striking. The class setup is intervals of 20 or 30 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest. The workout transitions through a mix of forward and backward running, strength moves, and explosive exercises.

This adds up to a sweat-filled session that targets and builds the important muscles that runners rely on for faster splits and more power. The low-impact component yields rewards such as protecting the joints and back.

Precision Running Lab

Equinox (Boston) has a new Precision Running Lab where despite running on a treadmill, it feels like you’re running outside. David Siik, senior manager of running at Equinox, wanted to bring the outdoors in with this experience. Even the music is scientifically-backed in providing motivation but not distraction. The music is nonlyrical, with driving beats. A Precision class has 90 to 117 four-second light changes that cue runners as they go. And the treadmill saves your speed once you maintain a pace for 20 seconds rather than have you push buttons while running.

Another important factor? The oxygen. The studio has a filtration system that purges nitrogen and raises O2, helping to keep your lungs full and your head clear. The result is an immersive experience, focused on the workout.

Have you tried these fitness studios? Do you run inside?

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Enjoy the great indoors: Bring your run inside was originally published on Self Evolve

Carry your stuff while running with efficiency and ease

If you’ve been following along with my running-themed posts, you likely have deduced that as you run you will also have to bring a few things with you: i.e. water, a way to track your run, and perhaps your keys to get back in your home after your run. To make running easier and more…

Carry your stuff while running with efficiency and ease was originally published on Self Evolve

carry your stuff while runningIf you’ve been following along with my running-themed posts, you likely have deduced that as you run you will also have to bring a few things with you: i.e. water, a way to track your run, and perhaps your keys to get back in your home after your run. To make running easier and more enjoyable, it’s a good idea to find an efficient way to carry your stuff while running. After trying a few different methods of carrying my stuff while running, I’m here to review them all with you.

Hold whatever…

One option is to just hold whatever it is you need. Hold onto that water bottle, and maybe stick those keys in your pocket along with your phone or map (for tracking purposes). Or just wear that tracking device on your wrist (i.e. a fitbit). But for the shorter distance runs, there really shouldn’t be any issue holding onto your stuff as long as you keep that stuff to the bare minimum.

Use a utility belt, Batman

carry your stuff while running

Running belts these days can carry almost anything: that water bottle (or multiple), those keys, and that huge Apple X phone (phablet?). I absolutely love my Nathan running belt. It holds my phone, keys, and energy chews. This brand also makes great belts that hold water bottles too! Alternatively, you could just get a bad-ass Batman belt and fight crime as you run around town.

 

See a few great options below.
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Use your arm, Popeye

carry your stuff while runningYou could get an armband or wristband instead to hold your phone and keys. I personally think armbands jiggle a lot when I run with them. However, some runners prefer an armband as it can add a little extra weight training in to your cardio days (well, at least for one of your arms so you might look like Popeye).

Check out the options below for your next run.
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Carry protection…

Another good idea is to carry something to protect yourself, especially if you’re running at night and/or through an area that’s new to you. Be sure to have pepper spray, your keys, or a self-carry your stuff while runningdefense stick on hand just in case. This doesn’t only apply to females, anyone can be attacked no matter your gender, age, or any other factor. Run safely at all times!

See some great self-defense options below.
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How do you carry your stuff while running? Comment below with what works for you.

Carry your stuff while running with efficiency and ease was originally published on Self Evolve

Running Pregnant

Pregnant female athletes seem to be hitting the news lately. You have Serena Williams who wins the Australian Open while pregnant. Then poses nude on Vanity Fair. Hell yeah. Then you have Alysia Montano who races pregnant for the second time at USA Championships. The first time she was 8 months pregnant and this time she was…

Running Pregnant was originally published on Self Evolve

Pregnant female athletes seem to be hitting the news lately. You have Serena Williams who wins the Australian Open while pregnant. Then poses nude on Vanity Fair. Hell yeah. Then you have Alysia Montano who races pregnant for the second time at USA Championships. The first time she was 8 months pregnant and this time she was…

Running Pregnant was originally published on Self Evolve