The benefits of exercise have been well documented as improving mind, body and soul. For the past two years I’ve been an active runner and when I work out, I run with my iPhone and Nike running chip. The chip is installed in my shoe and features an app that lets me know specific details about my workout. On the Nike + running app, there’s a ranking system, challenges, an option to add friends and a coaching option which can help train for an upcoming marathon. After each run is completed, I like to know how fast I’m running, how many calories I’ve burned, and even how many miles my friends are running. There’s a scoreboard that resets every month. I like keeping track of my progress and knowing I can make improvements every time I go on a run. I consider this app to be a social networking website without a messaging system and it keeps me motivated and competitive.
Sticking with a brand that I’m comfortable with, I also run with a Nike shirt, Nike shorts and Nike running shoes. The shirt is a cotton mesh, which blocks UV rays, preventing skin damage when I run during the day and the shorts have built in underwear that prevents chaffing. The shoes have padded shock absorbers, which protect my feet, shins and knees. All of these items are light and comfortable and fit tight against my body without irritating my skin. Simple things like the app and correct clothing can make all the difference in continuing an active running life.
Recently on the Men’s Health Magazine Twitter page I watched a really great video about what a “runners high” means. Apparently, when exercising longer than 30 minutes and when your heart rate is beating at your age-adjusted 80%, two-mood modifiers are released throughout your brain. These two mood modifiers are feel-good chemicals called endorphins and anandamides. These chemicals spread throughout your central nervous system and make your body numb to how much your legs are burning or other discomforts when running long distances, creating a feeling of calmness and euphoria. I’ve experienced this “high” when pushing myself at a moderate tempo, after about the 6-mile mark, and appreciate the mental reward!
Next up: a half-marathon. Future goal: a full marathon