According to the last National Sports Participation Survey, jogging is ranked the most popular sport among Singaporeans. What makes running so popular? Well, we all know how to run. My first memory of running was probably to run away from my mother when I got myself into trouble. Running is also cheap, all you need is a pair of shoes and you’re set for a fulfilling workout. We can run at any time of the day, alone or in groups, and anywhere. Singapore also has a couple of wonderful running trails, including the various parks, stadiums, gyms and even at the reservoirs (maybe not at Bedok Reservoir during the night for now)! My personal favorite running trail is at Pasir Ris Park, where I usually do my 10 kilometer jogs during late evenings to behold the beautiful sunset that awaits me there.
It is a good sport for those of you who are thinking of getting yourself in shape, but before you start running, there are some things you should do before you begin your healthy lifestyle:
1) MEDICAL & HEALTH:
If you are above 35 years old and have been leading a sedentary lifestyle for quite some time, it will be good to have a medical checkup. This is especially recommended for those who have had a history of medical or fitness problems (including asthma, diabetes, heart problems, and injuries). The doctor will be able to highlight the problems you might encounter and advise how to deal with them.
Get yourself the right pair of shoes (if you do not already have it). You should always wear the appropriate footwear for your type of foot, and the type of shoe. There are three types of foot: Normal Arch, Flat Arch and High Arch. There are also two types of shoe: Racing and training shoes. For new runners, it is advised to choose training shoes as they typically have more cushioning and have thicker outer soles. Always buy shoes that fit you comfortably.
A common mistake by new runners is that they feel the need to starve themselves before a run. This is not recommended as your body needs its fuel to run. There are three types of fuel for exercise: Carbohydrate, Fat and Protein. Consume carbohydrates as it is the most immediate source of energy for the body. It is also good to give your body at least 2 hours to digest the food that you eat before you begin running. Ensure that you keep yourself hydrated – before, during and after any physical activity.
3) WARMING UP / STRETCHING
You are almost ready to run now, but your muscles are still a little cold. A common misconception is that warming up equates to static stretching, but this can increase the likelihood of getting injuries too. What I usually do for my warm-up is either cycling/light jogging for 5 minutes before I do my stretching. You can also do some jumping jacks (50 counts of four) or light skipping. Another alternative is to do some dynamic stretching.
Now you are all set to run, I welcome you to the wonderful world of running. Let’s get those muscles pumping, the endorphins flowing, and most importantly, HAVE FUN! 🙂