To run or not to run….jpg

To run or not to run…


Annemijn Lugtigheid-Drupsteen is a Physiotherapist and runs clinics at the Family Medical Centre in Quinta do Lago.

The summer is coming, which will bring back the sun, beach and summer clothes.

For some of us that doesn’t seem to be a problem but our hibernating, food and activity programme around Christmas is showing off with a few extra pounds.  A good time for new diet gurus and hours of sweating in the gym. But what is a good way to lose all those extra pounds?  One thing for sure is being more active and you should take a good look at your eating habits…

A couple of good things about working out in the gym and being active is that you are not alone, you can have a personal trainer who tells you what to do (and what not to do) and a training schedule that will help you achieve your goals. What if you want to do some extra running to get into shape even quicker? Good thinking, but before you run off, it might be a good idea to consider this first.

Running is, in many ways, a natural thing to do but as most of us don’t live very ‘natural’ any more, we have to make some adjustments before we begin.  

Even if your goal isn’t the London marathon, it’s essential to know the dos and don’ts of running.  Like any other sport, it involves techniques and certain skills. If you just start running, it will do more harm than good!  There are a lot of good books about running, you don’t need to be a professional runner to read and use them.  Like there is only one Tiger Woods and also a lot of people just playing golf…

Don’t start with a whole hour the first time, instead give your body the time to adjust to your (new) active lifestyle. The best way to build up your running is to look at your heart rate (heart beats per minute).  The latest heart rate monitors have smart technology that will help with this. To have the best training results to lose the extra pounds, you should work on 55-65 per cent of your maximum heart rate– you can use this percentage with any sport. This is a number you can obtain using this simple formula: 220 – your age = maximum heart rate.

ALWAYS take at least five minutes to warm up and cool down.  If you include stretching, it’s better not to do a bouncing stretch but find the spot where you feel the stretching of the muscle and then hold that position for at least 10 seconds.  If you search the internet, you can find some good websites for runners of all levels, you can even print out your own schedule. (For example, websites by Asics or Nike.)

One other thing people seem to forget when they start running is their clothing. This begins with good running shoes. Take the time and effort to visit a store that specialises in sports shoes.  You will get good advice and shoes that fit your way of running which will minimise the chance of injury.  Don’t try these shoes on in the morning – your feet will be wider at the end of the day.

The rest of your clothes should be comfortable and made of materials that will allow your skin to breathe.  If your clothes get in the way during exercise, it will surely have an effect on the pleasure of it.

And ladies…please invest in a good sports bra.  Did you know that an average breast moves 9,08 cm (that’s 3.5 inches) while running?!  Imagine aerobics or other bouncing sports… The skin tissue of the breast will be stretched (this is an irreversible process) and there will be more pressure on the neck and shoulders when not wearing a good sports bra.  

Last but not least:  most of all it’s important to respect the boundaries of your body to prevent injuries and this will contribute to more fun with sports in general.  After a good training without injury, you can always treat your body to a sports massage by visiting a physiotherapist.