run4Exercising is a great way to stay happy, healthy and in shape, but how do you know which activity is best for you? While some people are involved in recreational sports, others elect to dance, and many choose to run. The great thing about running is that it can be done any time of the year and fall may be one of the best seasons to go on an outdoor run. Here are a few things to consider before you take off:

What do I wear?

It’s best to pick an outfit that will keep you comfortable for the entire duration of your run. If the weather calls for rain, make sure to wear a rain jacket and a pair of longer pants. If it’s colder outside, layer up with a sweatshirt jacket, gloves, and/or a hat as all of these items can be taken off if you get hot. If you are looking for a more intense workout, add layers to increase your sweat. For more specific information tailored to the running experience you desire, visit http://www.runnersworld.com/what-to-wear.

Do I need to do anything before I run?

Make sure to fuel your body with water a few hours before you go on a run so you do not risk dehydration. It is also in your best interest to avoid heavy meals as they will be hard to digest during your run, and may cause you serious discomfort.
Another really important thing to keep in mind is stretching both before and after your workout. Stretching before running is often skipped, but it’s necessary to warm up your muscles and prevent possible injury.

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Where do I Run?

It’s always best to develop a route in an environment you are comfortable navigating. A college campus or community neighborhood is an excellent place to start. When choosing a location, look for areas that are visually stimulating, well lit, safe, and contain a significant number of sidewalks or designated running trails. Fall is one of the best seasons to exercise outdoors because of the beauty of the season. The scenery and cool breeze can help you forget that you are exercising!

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How far do I run?

As with starting any new workout regimen, begin with a small distance and gradually work your way up to a more challenging routine. The first run can be considered your experimental workout. This is when you can decide what distance is right for you, and whether your body can handle more or less. As you make this decision you want to be mindful that the experience is supposed to be challenging, but should not cause you any pain, or serious difficulty breathing. If this happens, consult your physician for further assistance before you continue.

clockWritten by DeVonna Smith, Peer Educator

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