We are all supposed to get off the couch and be active. One thing that is not healthy is to always be sedentary. Our minds and bodies are made for activity and work, as these are the keys to a long and fruitful life.

Very few people would argue against the idea of activity and exercise. But how much activity or exercise should we have? And if we have an exercise goal, how do we get there?

Over the last couple of years, a running-exercise plan called “Couch to 5K” has risen, which basically says in simplistic form that it is a process of building up a person’s fitness over a couple of months, leading a person from the couch to be able to run 5,000 meters.

Let’s slow down – we’re not saying run a 5K in a race or set some age-group record. All we’re saying is being able to walk out the door with your running shoes and be able to run continuously for 3.1 miles.

How do you do it, and is it ultimately healthy?

Here is the basic idea: You spend 30 minutes a day, three days a week for about nine weeks, and you are supposedly ready to run a 5K. To get into more detail, here is how it works:

  • Get to a point in your fitness where you can walk for 30 consecutive minutes comfortably.
  • Be consistent. Don’t switch from time to distance and back again. Yes, when you mostly walk a 5K to start, it will take you more than 30 minutes, but eventually you will get to jogging a 5K in that 30-minute time frame.
  • The strict schedule is nine weeks, but don’t be afraid to give yourself an extra weke or two to account for illness, body rest and for training at the distance before actually running in a race.
  • Do this three times a week, and never two days in a row.
  • On “off” days, do some kind of cross training like weightg training or bicycling. Give yourself at least one day of full rest and recovery each week. Even Olympic athletes have a full day off each week.
  • In the first week, split up your workout into six segments, and do a walk and a jog in each segment. Try three minutes walking, two minutes jogging in each segment, for example.
  • Check your body after the first week for any aches or pains. If you feel some lingering aches more than a couple days after your last workout of the week, do the first week schedule again for another week, and continue until you no longer feel achy.
  • For week two, increase your jogging in those six segments, or change to five segements with more jogging than walking (four minute jog, two walk, for example)..
  • In week three, you can vary things by doing a pyramid, where your workout is split into five segments. If you go by time, segments 1 and 5 are three minutes jogging, one minute walking; segments 2 and 4 are four minutes jogging, one minute walking; and segment 3 is five minutes jogging, two minutes walking.
  • In week four, you split your workout into five segments, with five minutes jogging and one minute walking in each.
  • Week five is a “break” week, where you do week four again, except twice that week instead of three times.
  • Week six is back to three days, with another pyramid – segments 1 and 5 are five jog, 1 walk; segments 2 an d 4 are seven jog, one walk; segment 3 is eight jog, one walk.
  • Week seven is doing three segments of nine minutes jogging and one minute walking in each.
  • Week eight is jogging 10 minutes, walking one for three segments.

By the time you get done with this program, you essentially are jogging for 30 minutes, or about 5,000 meters in total distance. After this, you are working on increasing your jog-to-walk ratio until you can jog for 30 minutes continuously. Then you are working on some speed as well. You can also increase from three days a week to four, but do not run on consecutive days until you can not feel any ache or pain during a rest day.

And again, don’t move on to the next week just because it’s on the calendar. Listen to your body and do a week’s workout a second or third week if you need to. Don’t rush anything, and don’t keep working out if your aches become pains that don’t go away. This isn’t worth serious injuries that will leave you laid up for a while- keeping you from laying around is the whole point of this!

Generally, is the Couch to 5K system healthy? Yes, provided that you go slow and follow the schedule.  This will improve your health, help you lose weight, gain more energy and mental focus and will strengthen your body because of the activity.


Best Exercises To Help Train For a Marathon

When the topic of strength training and running comes up, a lot of runners typically don’t understand the many benefits associated with incorporating it into their routines. The fact is, by supplementing running with strength training exercises, not only can you help prevent injuries, but it can help to boost your speed, security, and efficiency as well. This article will be detailing some of the top exercises to incorporate into your routine if you are looking to train for a marathon.

Training For a Marathon:

1. Planks.

One of the primary muscle groups you should be focused on when you are looking to become a better and more efficient runner is your core. Your core is very important when it comes to maximizing your running capabilities because it is going to ensure that you not only have the proper running posture, but it can also help to minimize any chances of suffering an injury.

2. Overhead Lunge.

If you are going to be working out, you will also want to incorporate various exercises that can help to build up your leg muscles. One of the top ways to build up your leg muscles would be to focus on lunges. Lunges such as an overhead lunge can really maximize your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. This is going to help ensure that your leg muscles are strong enough to handle the marathon and can even help to increase your speed as well.

3. Hip Extensions.

Another major exercise that you want to incorporate into your routine would be hip extensions. Whether you use something like a stability ball or you do it with something else, this exercise is going to help strengthen your hamstrings, glutes, and your entire core. Thus, it is going to be one of the best running exercises you can incorporate into your routine because it will help you prevent injury while running.

For more information on this subject,please watch the following video:

The Interesting Origins Of The Modern Marathon.

The modern marathon is one of the most grueling sporting events in the Olympics. However, contrary to what many people believe this foot race is not a modern invention. In fact it has its origins in antiquity.

Runners often risk injury as a marathon is run over a distance of just over 26 miles. usually on roads.

The modern marathon celebrates the accomplishment of a Greek soldier named Pheidippides who ran non stop to Athens to inform the city elders of the victory of their armies at Marathon (hence the name). That victory over the Persians would ensure that the Greek Empire would last for another generation. Legend has it that he delivered his message and then immediately dropped dead from exhaustion.

Irrespective of the origins the first of the modern day marathons was run in 1896. But the distances did vary until an official distance was agree by sporting authorities in 1921.

Today marathons are not only hosted at the Olympic Games, there are nearly a thousand officially sanctioned marathons held all over the world every year. these marathons attract world class athletes from across the globe – and the prize money can run into millions of dollars.

1896 Was of course the beginning of the modern Olympics. The idea to include the marathon was one that was well thought out. Aside from more modern disciplines the organizers wanted something that would cement the games in the ancient tradition of fair play and human achievement at the highest level.

The marathon does all of that. It puts endurance and spirit of the individual at the pinnacle of what separates elite athletes from those who want to merely explore fitness. The history of the warrior Greek who literally sacrificed all for his state is echoed in the superb athletes who today take part in the marathon. A spectacle watched by people all over the world – and who salute those who take part for their dedication and bravery.

For more information on ancient Greece, please watch the following video:

How To Prevent Dehydration While You Are Running

Staying in good shape is important for your health and your self-esteem. One of the activities that a lot of people enjoy is running. Whether you hit the trails near your house or take a spin on the treadmill each day, it is essential that you stay properly hydrated to maximize the benefits of your workout.

First of all, you should not look at hydration as something that only matters when you are exercising. The reality is that it is essential that you consume plenty of water each day, no matter how much or little you plan to move. Of course, there are factors that will increase the amount you need.

Start your day off with a nice big glass of tepid water with the juice of one fresh lemon squeezed into it. This is a great way to stimulate your digestive tract for the day and start pumping healthy life-giving water into your body. You will need to drink additional glasses throughout the day based on your schedule and personal factors.

Your size is one of those factors. Those with a larger body composition are going to need more water than someone who has a short, small frame. That is a simple fact of life and needs to be recognized when looking at water consumption, nutritional needs and plenty more related to your health.

The climate where you live can also contribute to dehydration. Similarly, you might need more water at certain times of the year. Learn how to monitor your bodily signs so that you can adjust your water consumption accordingly.

The third factor that influences how much water you need to consume is your activities. Running is clearly going to cause you to sweat, breathe heavily and otherwise release a lot of fluid. Make sure that you are well-hydrated going into the workout and keep water with you while you are running.

Before and after your routine make sure to include an electrolyte-rich beverage to keep you feeling great. This will help to replace those lost while you are running.

You run to improve yourself. Don’t let it become a burden on your body due to poor hydration. Instead, make sure you drink plenty of water each day, starting with a lemony glass first thing in the morning. You will experience fewer cramps, clearer skin, and better health as a result of monitoring your hydration as part of your personal care routine. You don’t want to have to call an estate planning attorney to create a will because you died of dehydration from running.

5 Foods To Avoid Before A Race

Many people are aware of the necessity of storing carbohydrates in their body before a long run or a marathon. The carbohydrates are broken down and converted into glycogen, a polysaccharide that is stored in the body’s muscles and ready to use as an efficient source of energy so the body does not need to resort to burning fat, a less efficient fuel source. However, despite being aware of carbohydrate intake before the beginning of a big race, runners also need to be aware of various foods that they shouldn’t be eating beforehand: foods that may be detrimental to their performance and their health in general.

  • Lactose

Despite a few dairy products being a good source of carbohydrates, runners should be aware of the amount of lactose they are consuming at the same time. Many people have trouble processing lactose in their bodies as they age. And whether or not you are even running in a big race, the inability to process lactose can lead to uncomfortable, sometimes even painful, stomach irritation and nausea.

  • High-fiber foods

While they are obviously incorporated into many healthy diets, there are lots of fruits and vegetables that are naturally high in fiber and can be detrimental to a runner’s performance during a race. Avoiding foods such as broccoli, legumes and multigrain breads will help runners avoid stomach irritation similar to consuming lactose, as well as spare them the discomfort of gas building in their gastrointestinal tract.

  • Fatty foods

Unlike carbohydrates, grams of fat take a longer time and significantly more energy to break down. Therefore, even during the middle of a race, foods that are high in fat content tend to linger in your stomach and feel like they are literally weighing you down, especially those foods high in saturated fats. It is recommended to wait until after a race is completed to start working on that burger.

  • Spicy foods

They may be beneficial to your metabolism. They may be less difficult or unruly to process as lactose, and they may not necessarily sit as a deadweight in your stomach like foods high in fat content, but too much spicy food can still affect your ability to perform. Eat enough spicy food before a race, and you may find yourself competing with a bout of heartburn or indigestion instead of that stretch of pavement.

  • White or refined sugars

They tend to be viewed as empty calories anyway. Beyond that, consuming foods rich in white or refined sugars leads runners to run the risk (no pun intended) or hypoglycemia. Ingesting such food causes blood sugar levels to spike quickly and decrease at a rapid pace. This condition can lead to headaches and fatigue that would greatly hamper the performance of any distance runner. It is best to avoid high GI (glycemic index) foods in exchange for lower GI foods such as foods with natural sugars like some fruits (so long as they don’t also fill you up on fiber at the same time). 

You should keep all of this in mind if you want to run your practice more efficiently.

5 Foods To Eat Before A Race

There are at least a couple modern day diets that swear off carbohydrates as a bane to your health, but this in fact could not be further from the case. While it is true that unused carbohydrates are stored in the body as fat, the main purpose of this nutrient is to be converted into energy-producing compounds that are generally burned for immediate or near-immediate use. This is why athletes and runners have a tendency to load up on meals such as pasta, rice and potatoes before taking to the field or starting that marathon; these foods are packed with carbohydrates that can be used as fuel for the muscles so they have the energy to perform.

With that said, however, there are several foods that are likely better options for runners to resort to when looking for their source of carbohydrates, especially when it comes to maintaining endurance in long-distance races or marathons. The body tends to break down and store carbohydrates as glycogen in your muscles for use when you are ready to begin that race.

However, despite wanting to eat foods that are rich in carbohydrates, Dr. Brian Rapaport warns against eating foods that are also high in fiber (mostly to avoid stomach issues during the middle of the race). He encourages runners to start “carbo-loading” a couple of days in advance and recommends a variety of foods to use for this process.

  • Fruits (Bananas, orange juice)

As long as you avoid fruits that are also naturally high in fiber, these sources should supply plenty of glycogen to your muscles. Dr. Rapaport recommends consuming approximately 150 grams of carbohydrates on the morning of race day, and these sources alone supply approximately 50 grams by themselves.

  • Grains (Bagels, granola bars, sourdough rolls)

Avoiding processed or refined grains with more complex compounds or sugars for the body to break down, this selection of grains tends to pack a great deal of carbohydrates by themselves. A whole bagel alone provides roughly 70 grams of carbs to your body, nearly half of Dr. Rapaport’s recommended breakfast supply. Granola bars for snacks and sourdough rolls for lunch or dinner also provide a surprising amount of carbohydrates by themselves, nearly 30 and 40 grams respectively.

  • Starches (baked potato, burrito with rice)

Dr. Rapaport’s specific plan recommended a chicken burrito that contained rice, corn salsa and black beans, supplementing a dinner with a decent supply of grains and legumes to the meal. The burrito itself offers over 100 grams of carbs! And a baked potato is no slouch either. Add a quarter cup of salsa to it, and you’re peaking at almost 70 grams of carbohydrates with that alone.

  • Dairy (yogurt, chocolate milk)

Adding to the immediate pre-race breakfast regiment, yogurt and chocolate milk provide a good amount of carbohydrates as well. 8 ounces of fruit-flavored yogurt can supply your body with over 40 grams of carbohydrates, and chocolate milk – while on the lower end of the spectrum – still grants about 26 grams in just a single cup.

  • Sweets and candy

Surprisingly enough, Dr. Rapaport even includes a bit for those with a sweet tooth. An oatmeal cookie at lunch time can supply over 50 grams of carbohydrates if it’s big enough. His specific plan also includes “Swedish Fish” which can provide up to a staggering 148 grams of carbohydrates per 12-piece serving, though Dr. Rapaport recommends a 1-2 ounce bag to suffice.

“Carb-loading” a couple days in advance and incorporating some of these foods into your breakfast the morning of the race, according to his research, will provide your body with ample stored glycogen for your muscles to burn before they need to resort to burning less efficient stores of fat for your marathon. This will give you the best chance to avoid “hitting the wall” and finishing that race.