Beginner Running Program in St. Louis
Beginner running program in St. Louis. The benefits of running are clear: it can improve mental health, help you lose weight, improve your cardiovascular health, and almost anybody can do it, almost anywhere. But, if you’re just starting a beginner running program in St. Louis, you may have doubts about how to proceed, and how your body’s going hold up to increased exertion. Professional physical therapists like those at Axes are experts in movement health and the musculoskeletal system. Whether you’re looking to return to form after a sports or work-related injury or are just trying to get healthier, our team can help you learn proper form, understand if you’re healthy enough to begin a running program, and treat any running-related injuries you may sustain.
6 Benefits of Starting a Beginner Running Program
Running offers many physical and mental health benefits, including:
- Weight management — The average person burns about 80 to 140 calories per mile, making running one of the more efficient weight losing exercises.
- Improved cardiovascular health — Running helps to strengthen the heart and lungs, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Increased muscle strength and endurance — Running works the muscles in the legs, core, and back, helping to improve overall fitness and endurance.
- Better mental health — Running has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by releasing endorphins and serotonin, chemicals that improve your mood.
- Increased longevity — Regular running has been linked to a longer lifespan. Just one run may add 7 hours to your life.
- Convenience and accessibility — Running is a simple and inexpensive way to get regular exercise and you can do it almost anywhere with just socks, shoes, shorts, and a shirt. It can be done by people of most ages and fitness levels, and your program can be easily modified to suit individual needs, abilities, and limitations.
While you may feel that “runner’s high” right away, in order to truly reap the rewards of starting a beginners running program in St. Louis, you’ll need to make running a consistent habit.
6 Beginner Running Tips in St. Louis
Getting from the couch to the track may seem daunting to some St. Louis residents, but in truth it’s as easy as putting on your shoes, going out the door, and hitting your stride. A beginner running program isn’t about “winning;” it’s about hard work, constant improvement, and taking care of your body. Below are the top 6 beginner running tips to make sure you start your program safely, and stay motivated to continue it.
- Be realistic and progress gradually — You’re probably excited to start your running program, and may be challenging yourself to one day run that 4-minute mile. But if you’re body isn’t used to it, or you’re just getting back to activity after an injury, over-exerting yourself could lead to injury, and setting unrealistic goals may make you unmotivated. Start out by running slowly, and gradually build up how long you run for in the coming weeks.
If you feel like you’re very out of shape, it’s OK to start by walking briskly for 30 minutes and progress to running later. You can also switch between running and walking in 2-minute intervals.
- Get the right footwear — One of the great things about running is you can do it anywhere and it requires relatively little equipment. One piece of equipment you do need are proper shoes. There are many benefits to buying proper running shoes, including more comfort, better performance, and injury prevention.
- Warm up and cool down — Even world-renowned athletes need to warm up before any physical activity. Stretching and exercises like high knees that improve range of motion will help prepare your body for the rigors of running. Static stretches after a run, as well as rest, help prevent injuries and improve your recovery.
- Combine running with strength and cross training — Muscle imbalances impact how forces go through our joints, and can cause injury or soreness. Having strong gluteal muscles and hip abductors can help ease the stress that running puts on the body. You also need to improve and maintain flexibility in your lower body and core.
- Stay hydrated and follow proper nutrition — Running and sweating increase the amount of fluid we need. Adequate hydration improves recovery and performance, and minimizes cramping and headaches.
Running also uses up a lot of fuel. You’ll need healthy carbs, protein, and nutrients to replenish your body. Following a proper diet will also enhance certain running benefits, like weight management and improved mental health.
- If you’re struggling, slow down or take a day off — Listen to your body when starting your beginner running program. While it’s important to make running a habit, you can injure yourself if you over-exert yourself. A little soreness should be expected. But, if you’re having significant pain, you should hold off on running until you heal. If the pain doesn’t subside or progressively worsens, seek out an appointment with your physician, or call Axes Physical Therapy for a free injury screening.
In a sense, running never gets easier, as you’ll keep having to push yourself to your limits to see the benefits. But, the more you do it, the more you’ll experience the benefits and be motivated to continue your program.
How a Physical Therapist in St. Louis Can Be Part of Your Beginner Running Program
Our St. Louis physical therapists are experts at treating injuries, or other issues such as dealing with chronic pain. But a licensed physical therapist can also be part of a wellness regimen aimed at improving your overall health. With exercises and techniques that have been proven to work, a St. Louis physical therapist at Axes can help your beginner running program with:
- Assessing any pre-existing injuries or conditions — A St. Louis physical therapist can help you understand if you’re currently healthy enough to run. If you’re not, we can create a personalized, safe, and effective exercise program to get your body up to shape.
- Create a personalized exercise program — We can help you come up with a beginner running program based on your specific needs and limitations. We can also show you strength and flexibility exercises to complement your running program. A physical therapist can also push you to challenge yourself, and introduce you to more demanding running programs such as varying speeds or fartlek training.
- Teaching proper running techniques — Proper form is essential to avoiding injury and getting the most out of your running program. We’ll show you proper running form, and we can perform motion video analysis to break down your movement and clearly see any flaws.
We can also show you warm-up techniques for before your run, and the best static stretches to do after.
- Injury prevention — Once you start being active, you want to make sure you stay that way. We’ll help you optimize your wellness through a personalized program that improve strength, range of motion, endurance, and coordination while running or performing other exercises.
- Addressing injuries as they occur — If you do become injured, a physical therapist can help you return to running and other activities you love quickly and safely. If you’re experiencing significant soreness, a physical therapist can reduce swelling and pain in your soft tissue.
Whether you’re looking to get healthier, or become active again after an injury or surgery, the St. Louis physical therapists at Axes are here to help guide you through your beginner running program with safe exercises and techniques that have been proven to be effective.
Call Axes For Help With Your Beginner Running Program in St. Louis
Starting a beginner running program in St. Louis can offer numerous benefits for both physical and mental health. However, many people don’t know where to start, or are nervous about how it’s going to go. Professional physical therapists like those at Axes can help by developing a holistic exercise program that will ensure you can get the benefits of running safely. If you’re thinking about starting a beginner running program in St. Louis, request an appointment with Axes, or call the Axes location nearest you.