Start Right

(NC) Exercise has the ability to heal the mind and restore the soul. Research shows that running and walking can be as effective as taking medication for mild to moderate depression and anxiety. It can also have a positive impact on our diet and sleep, which is often impacted when we’re feeling stressed.

Adding something else to our already jam-packed schedules can seem daunting, but with all of the positive benefits exercise can have on our overall health, it’s worth taking the time to do something for yourself.

Make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to nourish your body and help protect yourself from injury prior to and following a run. Here are a few tips to help:

Eat nutrient-rich foods: When planning out your day and run, ensure that the foods you are choosing are nutrient-rich – such as whole-grains, lean proteins and fruits and vegetables – as this will help to fuel you through your training and daily activities. Proper nutrition is also important for muscle recovery and avoiding injuries, as well as preventing early fatigue when running.

Stay hydrated: Hydration can be key to your success. While sports drinks and chocolate milk can be tempting after exercise, water should really be your drink of choice.

Recover to prevent injury: Be sure to eat a snack with protein and carbohydrates to help repair, build and maintain muscles and refuel glycogen stores within 30 to 60 minutes of finishing your training. Sometimes solid foods can be difficult to eat after a race; if so, try a smoothie.

Set a goal for yourself: Sign up for a run in your local community. There is nothing better than being cheered on for doing your best. While some runners can be competitive, most people participating have a wide range of abilities and some even walk from start to finish.

Do some good: If you can help others while doing something good for your body, even better. Look for a run near you that supports a charitable cause.

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