Everyday is a good day when you run ~ Kevin Nelson

Everyday is a good day when you run ~ Kevin Nelson
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

RunCast 90 - 2014 in Running: Review / Streaking for Motivation / Running on Smiles

Posted By: RunCast - 10:44 AM
Looking back on the biggest running news in 2014; running streaks are great to get us out running every day, but there's a danger of overuse injuries; a new study proves smiley faces can make you run longer and easier.

Photo credit: Lincolnian (Brian) / DecorLove / CC BY-SA

The Runner's World Year in Running: 2014
How to Complete a "Running Streak" Safely
United States Running Streak Association
Subliminal Messages and the Mystery of Fatigue
Why signs at races improve your performance

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Run Outdoors To Fight Winter Blues

Posted By: RunCast - 5:15 PM

Photo credit: mysza831 / Foter / CC BY-NC

Do you look out the window and think "forget it, I'm not running today"? I do, sometimes, especially in the winter. The gloomier the day, the more reasons and excuses I find for not running outside. And yet, I do go out, although it costs me more energy to muster the willpower than it's needed for run itself. Apparently, I'm not alone for feeling the blues - approximately 12% of the population in the USA suffers from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Another 8% reports feeling "under the weather", what medical scientist term the milder version of SAD, also known as the winter blues. That's one in five people!

From the personal experience, the hardest part is making the decision to go for a run. Many runners falter before the freezing winds and ice. Some switch to running on a treadmill instead, others skip it altogether. To help strengthen the resolve, here are the three good reasons to run outside.

PopSugar fitness blog points out that we burn slightly more calories outside in the winter - first, because we shiver to keep warm, and second because we run faster to warm up quicker.

Their second point is the one I agree with wholeheartedly -- the air outside is always better than the air in the gym. Inside, you breath the pre-used air that someone already breathed before, right? Okay, I'm kidding, but there's science proving the air quality in the gyms is really poor. A study was done in Lisbon, Portugal, where researchers placed air quality monitors into 11 gyms during the peak hours. The gyms were described as very similar to North American ones. They found alarmingly high levels of dust, formaldehyde and carbon dioxide. Dust and chemicals like formaldehyde are especially concerning, because they may contribute to asthma and other respiratory problems. So, if the smell doesn't scare you away from the gym, think of the health risk.

The third reason to go outside is the one I'd like to explore here: fighting S-A-D, or Seasonal affective disorder is much more effective outdoors.

So, what exactly is S-A-D? We sometimes call it also the Winter Blues, but it's actually the real thing. It's a type of depression related to changes in seasons. It most commonly starts in the fall and lasts through the winter months. It can also start in late spring and last through the summer, but that type of SAD is much less common, so I'll focus on the winter blues.

Here are some from the long list of symptoms of SAD, according to a very helpful article on Mayo Clinic's web site:
  • Irritability
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Problems getting along with other people
  • Hypersensitivity to rejection
  • Heavy, "leaden" feeling in the arms or legs
  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain

We all know there are days when we feel down and out of sorts. But, if we keep feeling the lack of motivation and energy for days, and especially if we notice significant changes in our eating or sleeping patterns, it could be wise to see the doctor.

We don't know exactly what's causing seasonal affective disorder, but the medical scientists point to three possible factors:

First is the decrease in sunlight during the winter months which may disrupt our body's circadian rhythm (our biological clock) and lead to feeling down.

The second possible factor is a drop in serotonin levels, which is a brain chemical that affects mood.

The third reason is the drop in levels of melatonin, a hormone which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.

Further, people who live far from the equator to the north or the south are more affected by SAD than those who live close to the equator.

Women are more often diagnosed with SAD than men and have more severe symptoms.

The good news, sort of, is that as we age, we are less prone to suffer from SAD than young people.

In extreme cases, the winter blues may lead to the symptoms of major depression such as suicidal thoughts or behavior, social withdrawal, school or work problems or substance abuse. Needles to say, if you notice any of those in yourself or someone close to you, it's time to get a doctor involved.

As you see, seasonal affective disorder is much more dangerous than just lack of energy or motivation. The medical remedies are light therapy, psychotherapy and medications. The most interesting of the three is the light therapy, where you sit a few feet from a special light therapy box which exposes you to bright light. Light therapy mimics natural outdoor light and seems to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood.

But, the things we can do at home are - make it brighter and sunnier, which means pull away those heavy curtains and let the light flood into the room. At work, try to move closer to the window, or if there isn't a window near you, take frequent breaks and spend them in the bright window-lit space.

The next major one is - get outside. During the lunch break, go for a walk outside - and just so you know: walking in a shopping mall doesn't count.

The main thing the doctor will tell you if you're diagnosed with SAD is to exercise regularly. So, keep running, and it will make you feel better. And, for the maximum effect run outdoors.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Running Easy in the Winter

Posted By: RunCast - 3:00 AM

Photo credit: tfxc / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Those of us who have a spring marathon coming will have to do the training through the winter. We'll have to run through the bad weather, ice and wind. But, the training has to be done, and if you're building your fitness base, running in the snow could be a great exercise. Just don't forget to take it easy on easy days.

According to Greg McMillan, an exercise physiologist and running coach in Flagstaff, Arizona, number one mistake runners make is not running easy enough on easy days. I admit, I'm also guilty of that. On easy days, I often start slow, but then when I warm up, my legs pick up the pace on their own and I end up running the pace which is only 15-20 seconds slower than my race pace.

The real danger in pushing too hard on easy days are injuries. Easy runs are designed to help the body recover and rebuild after a hard workout. I may add that it's even more important to heed the need to go easy in the winter. You have to consciously hold yourself back. When we step out in the cold we tend to go fast so we could warm up quickly. Even on a regular day that's a bad idea. The muscles are cold and rigid and not ready for rigorous work. We have to give them time to warm up by starting slow and gradually picking up the pace.

When we do the same thing after a hard workout, it increases the risk of injury. Your muscles are filled with broken down proteins, riddled with minor tears and starved for nutrients. In such weakened state, if we push hard right from the takeoff, some of the minor tears can grow into a serious muscle damage. Furthermore, weakened and tired muscles are less capable of holding the joints firm and the danger of sprains and falls on a slippery path is much greater.

McMillan says 70% of our runs should be easy. How slow we should go depends of the race or the distance we are focused on. Runners World has running pace calculators which calculate your training paces for everything, from easy runs to speedwork and Yasso's 800 intervals. The general rule is to go 2 minutes per mile (or 1-1.5 minute per kilometer) slower than your 5k pace. If your target is half or a full marathon, the easy pace should be 1-2 min per mile, or 45-90 seconds per kilometer slower than your race pace.

We should run that super slow and relaxed pace 1-3 days after the intensive workout, to allow body to repair itself.

It's all nice and well, but what to do when your legs, like mine, accelerate on their own? There are gadgets which can help, the same things we are using for speed intervals training. They can be used for easy runs too, just set your watch or your running app to the desired slow pace and be disciplined in following it.

Running in the winter creates different conditions than running on dry surface, so we should keep that in mind. When running on snow, even if it's just a dusting on the sidewalk, you'll feel your leg muscles work harder to keep you steady and your general pace will be slower. In those cases it's easier to run by feel, rather than by time.

First thing we should learn is how it feels to run easy, then apply that to the run in winter conditions. In the snow, your easy run will be much slower, of course. Keep checking your breathing. It should never be fast and labored, but slow and easy. You should be able to hold a conversation without gasping for air.

Runners easily get bored with running slow for long periods of time, and tend to speed up to make it more interesting. Every runner I know suffers from overly eager mind. You can fight it by occupying your mind with something else. An audiobook, or a podcast works for me, although I have to concentrate for the first 5-10 minutes of the run to keep my pace down, but once I settled in the relaxing pace, I let my mind be absorbed in the book and go on auto-pilot.

Another good way to keep it slow is to run with a partner and keep the conversation going during the run, making sure neither of you is breathing hard. And, just a side note -- the long, distance run we usually do on the weekend doesn't count as an easy run, because of its duration.

Even if you're bored with easy runs, you shouldn't try to replace them with cross training, unless, of course, you're injured. Cross training definitely has its place in runner's training, but it shouldn't come as a replacement for easy runs. We need them to build better fitness. As McMillan points out: "the more we run, the better we get." Easy runs help develop endurance by enabling muscles to rebuild in running-specific way, something that can't be done with other forms of training, or even yoga.

I know it's not easy to run easy, but it is very important part in making you a better and stronger runner. Just remember to check your breathing, hold back and enjoy!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

How Texting Can Affect Your Running Form

Posted By: RunCast - 6:33 AM
Photo: Surgical Technology International

It's beautiful what we can do on our phones isn’t it? Without moving from my seat I can check my email, post an update on my social network and tell everyone that I am just checking my email, then snap a selfie photo of myself checking my email, or even a video. Then I can quickly edit it and send or save it wherever I want. Or, I can read a book, browse the internet, watch a show, play a game and do hundreds of other things without moving any part of my body other than a finger or two. Amazing, isn't it?

But, if I could somehow step outside myself and take a look at me doing all those things, I would see a man bent over a tiny screen in his hands. My shoulders are hunched, my head is bent low and my spine is curved into semi-circle. No wonder I have almost constant back pain.

A study was done on amount of strain we put on our necks when we're looking down at our cell phones. The weight of the head of an average human is between 10-12 lbs. That's 5-6 kg. When we stand upright and look straight ahead, that's the amount of weight we put on our neck.

When we look down at something that's about 2-3 steps ahead of us, our head inclines at about 15 degrees angle. That slight incline more than doubles the weight our neck has to bear, from 12 to 27 lbs. Now, when we work our phones, our head drops to about 60 degree angle which puts a whooping 60 lbs on our necks. That's an average weight of an 8 year old child. For every inch of incline you are adding another 10 lbs of weight on your neck. Imagine walking around with an 8-year-old hanging around your neck. That's what you're doing when you're texting, according to the study.

In a video on Venturebeat.com Kelly Starrett, the author of the book Ready To Run, coaches the audience how to text properly, and how to sit properly: keep the spine straight, head and chin up and elbows tucked in just next to the rib cage, which will turn the shoulders backward and prevent slouching. When texting, bring your phone up by lifting your hands right in front of your face and keeping your elbows in. That way your posture will stay upright, your back will be straight and your neck will not need to bear the weight of the head bending down. Also, as Starrett points out, when holding the phone in front of our face rather than lowering our face to the phone, we are more aware of the surrounding and less likely to walk into a pole, or into traffic.

If you wonder what does all of this have to do with running, let me make the connection. Many of us have jobs that involve sitting for long hours hunched over a computer keyboard. And even those lucky ones whose job does not involve sitting in the office for 8 hours probably use their phones. In any case, we spend big part of the day in a pose that is opposite from healthy: shoulder hunched, head hanging, spine curved. That bad posture can translate into your running form as well.

There's a runner I often see on my runs. In my mind I named him "the faceless man", because I never saw his face. I passed the guy at least a dozen of times and I still don't know what he looks like. He runs with his head bent so low that all I can see is the crown of his head. He runs slowly and maybe because he is bent so much, he always looks like he is struggling. He always reminds me how important the posture is to running.

I am not talking about running form, although the two are closely connected. I am talking about the way we hold our bodies to make our running easier. First of all, just as in the texting lecture above, lift the chin up and keep the head straight. Remember, every inch the head hangs forward adds 10 lbs to your neck, and no one wants to go on a long run carrying extra weight. So, look straight ahead and not at your feet. I promise you, your feet will know what to do even if you're not staring at them. Raising your eyes from the ground will pull your head straight and with it your back and shoulders will straighten too.

Next, keep your arms swinging. The ideal armswing is when your elbows are bent to 90 degrees and your hand goes from the chest level down to touch your hip. Even if you're not swinging this much, just remember to relax your arms and let them swing freely.

Wiggle your fingers to relax your hands. They should not be clenched into fists all the time, and moving the fingers will help losen not only hands, but arms and shoulders too.

Do the same with the toes. We usually keep the toes poised like springs to push us forward at every step. That can cause painful cramps at the sole of the foot. Loosening the toes by moving them up and down as often as possible will help.

The last thing you can do to lighten your run is - smile. Smile signals to the brain that we are happy and in turn the brain releases chemicals which make the muscle work easier.

I'll toss in another tip, free of charge: if your lower back starts hurting during the run, like mine sometimes does, changing the footfall may help. It works for me when I change from my regular heel-strike to forefoot landing. That shortens my stride and brings the landing leg right underneath me, which in turn alleviates the pressure from the lower back. After a while I unconsciously revert to heelstriking because that's the way I run, but the short change of stride always helps with the back pain. Of course, it works only with small knicks and aches, not with the real injury, so if you have a herniated disk or serious back pain, you should go see the doctor and leave the running for some other time.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

RunCast 88 - How Texting Affects Running Form / Easy Runs in Winter Time

Posted By: RunCast - 4:54 AM
Using our smart phones makes us sit slouched for hours and that may translate into the way we run. Here are some tips to keep your head high. We'll also tackle the importance of easy runs in training and especially focus on keeping them easy in the winter on the snow an ice.

Photo credit: Raban Haaijk http://haaijk.prosite.com/ / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

The Atlantic: What Texting Does to the Spine
Video: Posture tips for those long days at work
3 Rules for Easy Runs
Runner's World Training Paces Calculator

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Why Should a Marathon Record Matter to the Rest of Us?

Posted By: RunCast - 4:57 PM

I'd like to invite you to a trip. Wait, it's not WHERE you should ask, it's – WHEN! I am inviting you to a time-travel trip. We are going to Berlin in September 2011. Let's land right at Tempelhof, the old Allied airport, where the cold-war air bridge kept West Berlin connected to the rest of the West with its endless supply flights. The airport is out of function now, turned into a public park, but in its massive hangars is where I'm taking you. Runners Expo for Berlin marathon is being held here. The place is enormous, one huge hangar connects to another, and the third, and so on, each linked to the next by two sets of large doors. We walk until legs start feeling tired. Each hangar is filled with hundreds of booths offering any imaginable gadget or thing connected to running, and many more that have nothing to do with running. Our progress is a slow swim against the stream of people – mostly runners – pouring in and out through the doors. At the very last of those interconnected hangars is where we pick up the race kit. That's also where Adidas, the gear sponsor of the marathon had set its booth. And there, in a glass box, a worn yellow shoe stands on display. It was worn by Haile Gebrselassie right here in Berlin in 2008. In it, king Haile, the absolute ruler of the long distance running, ran the world record time of 2:03:59.

The king himself is at Adidas booth, posing for photographs and signing autographs. The man never stops smiling. But it's not his trademark smile, or his presence that makes this occasion so exciting; it’s the fact that he is running the Berlin marathon with the rest of us, chasing the ghost trail of his own old yellow shoe. He will try, at the age of 37, to break the record one last time.

I pose for a picture next to the shoe and wonder if it'll still be there next year. Sure, I'd love to see the record broken again, especially by him, but I know it's a slim chance. That 2 hours 3 minutes and 59 seconds seem so incredibly fast, I wonder if anyone will ever run faster.

Marathon Sunday is sunny and hot. As my energy melts in the heat I think of Haile. I'm running in his footsteps, although about an hour behind. I don't think he can break the record in this weather. And I am right - Gebrselassie pulls out of the race somewhere mid-course. What I am wrong about is - the record gets broken by Patrick Makau from Kenya, who ran 21 seconds faster than Haile's record.

In a weird way, I felt proud for running the race in which the new world record was set. Not that I had absolutely anything to do with it. Still, I reserve the bragging rights to be able to say, along with about 30,000 others, that I ran the race when the record fell.

But, what does it really matter to the rest of us whether some insanely fast runner breaks the record or not? And why should it matter?

I think I speak for many runners when I say it's a huge moral boost for the whole running community. Suffering through a marathon race makes us identify with the others who suffered through the same ordeal, even if they did it in only 2 hours. Although none of us will ever come close to that mark, every time the record inches closer to it, we all walk taller. Maybe just by doing the same thing, by participating, by running the same race, we promote the sport and in a microscopic way enable the fast guys to continue getting faster. The breaking of the world record is a symbol for each of us breaking through our own barriers and setting new limits. Imagine then what a celebration it will be when we – and I intentionally say WE, as a band of runners – push through the line even science once deemed impossible, the 2-hour marathon mark! Just like the number of kids kicking the soccer ball radically increases during the World Cup, imagine the tidal wave of new runners lacing up when that happens! What an inspiration, what a motivation it will be!

Since Berlin 2011, the record was broken two more times, in 2013 and 2014. It now stands at 2:02:57, less then 3 minutes off the mark. So close, yet so far away!

In order for a human to do this seemingly impossible feat, many things have to come together. If you are, like me, curious about a scientist's speculation on everything needed for such a dream record, listen to my conversation with Alex Hutchinson, a running scientist and columnist for Runners World magazine, in which he explains, speculates, predicts and contradicts all the factors that could lead to sub-2-hour marathon.

Friday, November 7, 2014

RunCast 87 - Breaking Down The 2-Hour Marathon Record

Posted By: RunCast - 3:00 PM
Alex Hutchinson, a science columnist for the Runners World magazine, talks about crunching the data to determine what is needed for a human to run a marathon under two hours. Along the way, he muses why are the Kenyans so fast and so determined, why are the last few world records broken in Berlin and not London or Chicago, why Paula Radcliffe’s 2003 world record still stands and what are the chances that he’ll see the 2-hours record broken in his lifetime.

Photo credit: Drift Words / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

What Will It Take To Run A 2-Hour Marathon?
Sweat Science blog

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Banish Negative Thoughts From Your Run

Posted By: RunCast - 9:01 PM
Photo credit: demerson2 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

We know that running makes us happier. But, as all of us know well, running isn’t always smiles and happiness. There are times when it gets hard, when it feels like we are pushing an enormous boulder up a mountain, when it raises doubts about our physical and mental strength, when negative thoughts make us want to quit.

In a marathon race it all comes in a package somewhere around 30th kilometer, or 20th mile, the phenomenon known as “hitting the wall”. It happens when the energy reserves are so depleted that the body wants to shut down. On its own, those physical troubles are tough, but we can definitely plow through it. Just as we’ve heard about hitting the wall, we have also heard about the “second wind” when under some special inspiration and motivation we find the energy or willpower to pick up the pace and finish strong.

Unfortunately, the most devastating effect of “the wall” is of the psychological nature. Once it gets really hard, the first though usually is “I can’t go any further”. Such negative thoughts create doubts which eat away our resolve and confidence, until we’re reduced to a heap of slumping flesh dragging our feet dejectedly toward the finish. But, it doesn’t need to be that way.

Karen Quigley, a sport psychology consultant at True Form Coaching, has some important tips to boost your confidence and combat negative thoughts. Here are a few crucial points from her list.

The first and most important step for building your mental strength back up is to recognize when you’re having negative thoughts. As soon as that “I can’t go on” line pops up in your head, you should raise the alarm and attack it with a positive thought. The good one I use is “I am going to finish strong”. I even imagine myself crossing the finish line and that mental picture immediately makes my step lighter.

In a conversation for triathlon magazine Karen Quigley gives some other tips how to prevail over the negative thoughts that haunt your run.

Often we focus on external factors and blame them for hampering our performance. I have been guilty of that too, on windy days swearing at the wind gusts and sometimes even punching the air, as if I can knock the wind down. Quigley points out that the wind and other factors like the heat, rain and so on, are not lined up personally against you. The trick is to turn your thinking around and find the positive in the situation.

I know, now you wonder what on earth can be positive in wind pushing you back stronger than you can resist. Well, you can think “the wind bothers the other runners more than it bothers me” if you are in the race. I tried it recently on a training run, at it works too – I focused on a large guy walking ahead of me and thought how much bigger he is than me and how much more wind he has to fight than me. It was such an amusing thought, I almost felt sorry for the guy.

We need to try and find the positive spin in every situation that makes us miserable during the run. If it’s a hill that bothers you, imagine cresting its peak and flying down the other side. In my judo days, my coach always quoted a Japanese judo legend Kimura who would run up the slopes of Mt. Fuji shouting “what an amazing downhill”, making himself think how easy it’ll be to go down.

This kind of mental tricks work not only in specific situation during the run, but on a training in general. For example, try to find the positive for doing the kind of training you hate. If you hate speedwork, just remember it will make your legs stronger and make you run faster for longer time then if you just did a slow long runs. Likewise, if you hate trail running, just think how it helps strengthen the other small muscles in your feet and legs, and develop better running form than you would if you’re running only on pavement.

Finally, avoid comparing yourself to the others. We tend to always look at faster, stronger and better runners to compare to, and that usually knocks down the confidence in our own performance. Instead, compare yourself with your past self, remind yourself how much you’ve improved from a year ago, how much faster and better you are. When the doubt hits you hard, keep thinking how much you love what you do, and why you love it.

Away from the running path, surround yourself with positive people. When you fail to reach your goal, think of the things you learned from it and apply them the next time.

Positive thinking isn’t only a phrase, it’s an important part of running. And, like with every other part of the training, we may need some practice to be able to turn the negative thoughts around. Don’t let the blues bring you down – think pink and run strong!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Running to Happiness

Posted By: RunCast - 9:01 PM
Photo credit: vale ♡ / Foter / CC BY

There are days when we return from work so stressed and anxious that going for a run is the last thing we want to do. It takes almost superhuman effort to get yourself out the door on such days. If we hesitate even slightly, our bad mood can keep us at home to brood over whatever put us in such mood. And, at the end of the day, we'll feel even worse.

But, if we resist the urge to sink into a chair and fret about the problem we can't solve, if we push our feet into sneakers and force ourselves out even for a short run, chances are we'll come back in much better state of mind and much better mood. The heavy weight on our mind may slow us down initially, but as the legs keep moving, it'll lift off, become lighter and may even evaporate completely.

There were days when something that happened at work would make me so angry that I literally rushed out as soon as I came home, to vent the frustration. Usually, what helped was a 6-8 kms run as fast as the lungs would let me. A word of caution – if you fall for an impulse like that, don't let yourself blast off straight from the door. Hold back for a few minutes to allow your leg muscles to warm up. Because, if you add an injury to your frustration, it's not going to make you feel better. You WILL feel better after you blew out some steam, that's guaranteed. If nothing else, you'll be too exhausted to carry the same amount of anger.

On the contrary, when we feel upbeat and happy we dance out the door and quite possibly prance with ease through the run. Afterward we feel even better. So, you see, our mood greatly affects how we go about running. But, it's a two-way street, and running also affects our mood, making us happier, and healthier. Here are a few positive ways in which running affects our mood, as outlined in the Elite Daily online magazine.

We all know about the runner's high – the blissful state of mind and body when everything seems effortless, when running feels like flying, when all life's problems seem trivial and nothing can wipe the grin off your face. You also may know that the cause for that smile is release of endorphins in the brain.

Endorphins are the brain chemicals which fall in the category of neurotransmitters. They transmit electrical signals within the nervous system. The release of endorphin is most commonly triggered by stress and pain. When we're hurt, endorphin interacts with opiate receptors in the brain to dull the pain, in a similar way the commonly used painkiller drugs do, like morphine and codeine. In addition to its painkilling function, the release of endorphin creates a feeling of euphoria, changes the appetite, triggers the release of sex hormones and increases the immune response. Other than the pain, the trigger to release endorphin can also be strenuous exercises, like distance running. The logical conclusion is that the more we run, the happier we feel, thanks to endorphins and the runner's high.

The other sphere of life affected by running is the social life. Even if you are like me and prefer to run alone, we are all still a part of a large running community. Running can be a common topic to kick-start a conversation with a complete stranger. Joining a running group can add a challenge into our own training, make runs more fun and create friendships, motivation and support other than what we usually get from old schoolmates, family or colleagues at work.

Furthermore, running entices production of antibodies. Since I’m already delving deep into chemistry, allow me to take you again to the microscopic levels of the body and describe what’s going on with the antibodies. How Stuff Works web site explains that antibodies are a special type of protein produced by the immune system. When bacteria, virus or other unwanted intruder attacks our organism, antibodies rush to the point of breached security, to borrow the NSA term, and attach themselves to the foreign cells, practically arresting them and waiting until immune system sends its SWAT team of T-cells, also called the “killer cells” to destroy the invader.

Happy people are more resistant to the diseases than stressed and anxious people. Their bodies produce up to 50 percent more antibodies than the downers do. However, exercise can boost the production of antibodies up to 300 percent. And that may be why while everyone arounds you sneezes and coughs, you may be the only one untouched by cold. So, keep clocking those miles, it’ll keep you more resistant to illness.

But wait, it gets even better – a new study by British and Canadian researchers found that exercising just three times each week cuts the chances of developing depression by 19 per cent. So, exercising – and running in particular can not only help people who already suffer from depression, but also be a good preventative measure.

If you are a seasoned runner, then you already are healthy and happy, right? But, there’s one other thing proven to make you feel even better. Running in the forest is the magic thing that can further reduce stress and increase your overall well-being. So, take advantage of the Fall with all its colors and cooler days. Get out in the nature and de-stress on the run.

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