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Women Runners- Tips and Advice

Elvis Elvis

Women across the world have come to appreciate the sport of running as one of the most enjoyable, practical and economical ways to keep fit.

Whether your goal is fitness, weight-loss , or even if you just want to meet like-minded people, running is the perfect solution. Most important of all,you will find running immensely de-stressing, taking you away from all the worries of the day.

The Balancing Act

Most women have faced the ultimate problem of caring for their home and family, going to work and still being able to devote enough time to running.

The most important thing is to involve your family and children. Make your loved ones see how much the activity means to you. You will find that this approach gets you a huge amount of cooperation towards your running.

Organize your household chores so that you can manage to stick to your schedule as much as possible. However, do not feel guilty if you have to miss a day or two.

In addition, arrange your running schedule around your office hours. You can even go for your run directly from your workplace, before you come home.

Women Runners  Tips and Advice

Running in Pregnancy

The fact that running is one of the most natural exercises makes it extremely beneficial for pregnant women.

Of course, some amount of modifications have to be done to your normal routine and precautions have to be observed.

When pregnant,you should typically exercise to maintain a sense of well-being and fitness, rather than attempting to lose weight or to train competitively.

In fact, research indicates that exercising during your pregnancy, is likely to give you a shorter labor, less distress to your baby and a lower probability of a caesarean delivery, and most important of all, an overall feeling of well-being.

Precautions

Health care providers stress that if you are not already a runner, it is not advisable to start a running program during pregnancy.

If you intend to continue with your earlier running program, make sure you follow these precautions:

1. Reduce the intensity, duration and frequency of running in the first three months
2. Wear supportive shoes and good sports bra
3. Follow a good nutrition plan and increase your calorie intake
4. Do not overheat or over exert
5. Make sure that the body temperature doesn’t rise above 38° c and check it immediately after the run
6. Avoid running in extremely hot or humid conditions
7. Pay attention to pounding heart rate, breathlessness and dizziness, as these are warning signals for the intensity to be reduced
8. Contact your doctor if you experience vaginal bleeding, fatigue, joint pain or irregular heartbeat
9. Take plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
10. Wear comfortable shoes with strong ankle support to prevent injuries
11. Follow the regimen of stretching and relaxing before and after your exercise
12. Don’t use weights, if you are cross-training

However, apart from all the fitness advice by experts, it is first important for you to consult your healthcare provider to ensure that you are in the right state of health for running.

Menstrual Problems

Menstrual problems and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are the most well researched areas, in context to women’s health.You will need to take special precaution so that this does not affect your running performance.

Here we list the main precautions:

• Ensure proper nutrition, adequate intake of magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin B3 and chromium
• Reduce consumption of salt to prevent fluid retention
• Reduce consumption of refined sugar, red meat and alcohol
• Eat fish, poultry, whole grains and legumes
• Reduce consumption of coffee, tea, chocolate and cola-based drinks
• Avoid fried foods and hydrogenated margarines
• Increase intake of fiber in form of green, leafy vegetables, legumes and fruits
• Take multivitamins and other nutritional supplements

The Pill

The oral contraceptive pill (OCP) is commonly used by women to enhance bone health, manipulate the menstrual cycle and control premenstrual symptoms.

One of the main benefits of the OCPs is that they reduce menstrual blood loss by upto 50%, thereby beneficial for female runners. The Pill is also known to reduce painful period cramps.

However, the Pill also gives rise to the possibility of bleeding, fluid retention, weight gain, breast tenderness and headaches, which could affect your overall running performance.

Run to lose weight

Running is the best form of exercise for women to lose weight . Research shows that spending 30 minutes a day, for four days a week, leads to a high level of fitness and satisfactory weight loss.

Apart from being a weight-loss measure in itself, running is also an excellent component of any weight control programme.

However, experts suggest that you before you start on a running program in order to lose weight, it is important you calculate your BMR (Basic Metabolic Rate) and devise a program accordingly.

The Running Kit

Breast pain is the biggest problem faced by female runners. Studies reveal that over 50% of women experience breast pain while running. In order to avoid discomfort and permanent damage to your breasts, it is important that you wear a well-fitting sports bra.

Make sure that your sports bra fits snugly with no bulges and should reduce the amount of movement in your bust, as you imitate the running movement.