Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Why Running Is Good for Your Brain

After watching ING New York City Marathon, I'm sure your feet may be itching to run, too. The ultramaraton man Dean Karnazes also finished his Endurance 50 running - 50 marathons, 50 states, 50 consecutive days - in New York City Marathon. There are many inspiring stories in the race. Training and finishing a marathon has been a dream for many people. Although you may be still skeptical about training for a marathon and worried about injuries. There are numerous benefits from running and exercise, both mentally and physically.

There is evidence to link the creative process with exercise. For one's brain to function optimally, he needs a physically fit body. You may have experienced on-the-move insights while you're running. Founder of New York City Marathon, Fred Lebow, revealed that whenever he had a great idea during a run, he'd grab a twig and scratch it in the Central Park dirt. He'd go back later to recover his notes. Research from Washington University (St. Louis) Professor of Education, R. Keith Sawyer showed that creative people tend to schedule idle time to free up their mind to do something totally different such as listening to music or taking a bike ride. It's essentially a means of putting the analytical left brain on hold and giving priority to the sensing, intuitive right brain.

Exercise also increases activity in the frontal lobe, the part of brain involved in complex reasoning and attention. That means exercise actually keeps the brain young, which may be one of the reasons that athletes have lower rates of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. One cannot ignore these long-term health benefits from running and exercise.

Running gives you a chance to relax your body and mind and unplug yourself. It's all great to let your mind wander. Yet I suggest you try something different next time when you're running on the treadmill. Instead of listening to your iPod music or watching TV, you may want to listen to yourself and pay attention to your thoughts. You could have just that A-ha eureka moment during exercise - a great idea, a creative insight or outside-the-box solution to your problem.

Do you remember on some days that your running feels like floating? You're just able to run effortlessly, on and on and on. On some other days though, it's just alas, tough. A few tips here may help you to have that "floating" feeling more often. First, relax. You may argue that I run to relax myself, not the other way around. True. But when you're stressed, your muscles tense up and your mind gets cloudy. You don't breathe as deeply, which increases fatigue and effort of running. You may find ways to gradually de-stress yourself before running.

When you start running, run with easy and short strides slowly. Then progressively pick up speed and intensity as your muscles warm up. You can start by walking for a minute or two, then slow jogging. Gradually lift your knees and lengthen your stride for the first mile. Within 10 to 15 minutes, your body should be ready for longer run. As you run, spend more time close to the ground, not in the air. That means don't lengthen your stride with big gallops but take smaller and quicker steps.

To maintain good, upright running form, one has to have strong core strength. This would ensure biomechanically efficient transfer of power from the core to the legs and upper body. The "core" muscles includes your lower back, abdominal and hip muscles. Try to let your abs and lower back propel you. If you feel tension in the glutes, not your quadriceps or hamstrings, you're doing it right.

No comments:

"Denville, NJ" "Boonton, NJ" "Montville, NJ" "Kinnelon, NJ" "Mountain Lakes, NJ" "Rockaway, NJ" "Randolph, NJ" "Succasunna, NJ" "Chester, NJ" "Morristown, NJ" 'Mendham, NJ" "Madison, NJ" "Chatham, NJ" "Short Hills, NJ" "Sparta, NJ" "Hackettstown, NJ" "Montclair, NJ" "Wayne, NJ" "Bedminister, NJ" "Basking Ridge, NJ" "Bernardsville, NJ" "Personal Trainers" "In Home Personal Training" "Morris County, NJ" "Sussex County, NJ" "Essex County, NJ" "Passaic County, NJ" "Somerset County, NJ" "Fitness Bootcamps" "Biggest Loser" "Fat Camp""Fat Loss" "Weight Loss" "Female Personal Trainers"