Women’s clothing options for running

There is something quite liberating about an outdoor run. It is a time to switch off your phone, switch off your mind and focus solely on the rhythm of your legs pounding the pavement. No matter how much we may love running, sometimes, we all need new workout gear to motivate us to take that run early in the morning or late after a long day at work.
With the holiday season around the corner, we know that it is a time where we will be eating more than usual. More than that, it is a time of gift giving and appreciation so why shouldn’t we buy a present for us and splurge on a new workout gear to take us to our runs in the new year?
There are many great options for your next workout gear and below are three options with style and comfort specifically kept in mind.

running woman in shorts

The sexy runner

If you want to be comfortable but still feel sexy and stylish while running, then pair up a well fitted sports bra with a sleeves top that has a wide side, so that the bra peaks out of your side and you can show some skin while still looking perfect for a run. Finish off the look by pairing it with great yoga pants  – The Upside has a wide range for you to find the perfect pair .

The cool runner

If you don’t want to wear tight yoga pants to run but you are bored of the overdone plain jogger pants then invest in a pair of jogger pants with a leather side panel for a cool touch. You can also go for a two tone pant where the side panel would have a bold bright colour. Joggers are looser than yoga pants but that does not mean you should go for the shapeless kind by buying it a size bigger. Pair the pants with a fitted tank top or a fitted zip up if it is cold outside and bring the cool touch to your run.

The leggy runner

If you love showing off your hard work and it is warm outside then go for a great pair of running shorts. Unlike the everyday shorts, make sure the ones you buy for running are comfortable and not too tight to that they will not keep going up your leg with your every move. Pair the shorts with a T-shirt to cover up your shoulders if it is sunny outside and wear ankle socks with your sneakers.
Besides these three outfit ideas, there are other things you should keep in mind. First things first, make sure you wear the right kind of underwear ¬– lace, frills and thongs will cause chafing when running so opt for cotton underwear instead. When it comes to the sneakers, invest in a pair that is right for the shape of your foot before looking at style.

Picture credit: fitnessviking.com

Blonde running on the treadmill

5 reasons to use the treadmill in the gym

It’s the time of the year when people exercise the least. The grey weather outside, constant drizzle and freezing temperatures for those who are in winter make it very hard to find motivation to exercise. Fortunately, there is always the treadmill, as long as you manage to step in the gym at least, or have one at home. Here are 5 reasons to use the treadmill in the gym instead of running outside.

Blonde running on the treadmill

The weather

That’s right, you don’t want to have to dependent on the weather to run. No one likes to run in the rain. If you run on the treadmill, you can do it come rain or sun, wind or snow, day or night. And even if it’s winter outside, the temperature in the gym will always be comfortable enough, so you don’t have to use the weather as an excuse. Of course, if it’s bright and sunny, why stay indoors?

Easy joints

If you run on the pavements, pounding the treadmill instead will give immense relieve to your joints. The human body is very adaptable in most circumstances and will be able to absorb the stress that you impose on the joints when running. But if you do it year in, year out, when you’ll be in your old age you may start to notice the consequences. Better take precautions now when you still feel nothing and your joints and still healthy. If you don’t like running on the treadmill, at least run on grass to absorb the shock.

Warming up

If you go to the gym to lift weights, you still need a general body warm-up or a few movements to get you in the mood and get your blood flowing. I find running the most demanding cardio exercise compared to rowing, cycling, spinning or swimming. For me, just a few minutes of high-speed running can warm me up and raise my heartbeat.

You could run outside but if you’re already in the gym and it is wet and cold outside, why not use the treadmill instead? You will have fewer reasons not to warm up that way!

Cooling down

Many people don’t bother cooling down after they exercise, but when you’ll get old enough, you’ll appreciate it more. If you’re already doing a cardio exercise, it’s easy to cool down with the same exercise. If you are lifting weights, then a few minutes of cardio – the treadmill for e.g. – after your workout is a good way to cool down.

Again, you’re already in the gym, so why not step up on the treadmill to wind down your grueling session?

Cardio exercises

Lifting weights only makes you only partially fit. You need to work you heart, your endurance and these slow-twitch muscles. The best way to do all this is of course through cardio exercise. And if you have already motivated yourself to exercise today and made it to the gym, then using a cardiovascular machine such as the treadmill that’s already there is the best way to add a cardio exercise to your training, making you able to run after the bus!

In general, the free weights area in gyms can get very busy while there very often plenty of free treadmills. So get going without having to fight your way through.

Picture credit and additional reading: http://runningtips101.com/treadmill-versus-outdoor-running/

 

Man using an elliptical trainer

Choosing between a treadclimber and an elliptical trainer

Man using an elliptical trainer

When the home workout room has a limited amount of space or the budget that you can allocate for a new fitness machine is not that extensive, most exercise enthusiasts are faced with the difficult choice between the treadclimber and the elliptical trainer. While it is advisable to read both the best treadclimbers and the best elliptical reviews, the details required for an objective comparison between the two workout devices is generally missing.

Reviews versus comparison

The best elliptical reviews and treadclimber reviews can only inform you about the capabilities of each model and youWoman on a treadclimber are no closer to making the correct decision after reading them. Therefore, let’s take a look at how well the two fitness machines are able to score in a head-to-head comparison based on the important fitness aspects.

Upper body too

First of all, it is necessary to point out the fact that although the treadclimber and the elliptical trainers are primarily created for lower-body aerobic workouts, the latter can also be used to train the muscles in the upper section of the body via the handlebars. It is fairly true that the elliptical trainer model and its design will play a major role in determining if you can develop a high level of upper body muscle mass, all elliptical machines maintain this section of the body active and toned during the routine.

Newcomer!

Furthermore, keep in mind that unlike the elliptical trainer, the treadclimber has only hit the market recently and there are very few manufacturers to choose from. The other aspect associated with the recent development of the treadclimber resides in the fact that the system may not be completely optimized and adapted for each type of individual user. Therefore, the effectiveness could vary from person to person and if you have not tried this machine successfully before, it all boils down to whether you are willing to take the risk or not.

Walking versus stepping

Next, don’t forget that while the goal of the elliptical trainers is basically to emulate walking or jogging, the focus of the treadclimber falls on simulating stepping (walking on lowest intensity settings). The concept of the treadclimber is based on hydraulic tension and the intensity of the exercise routine can be set by adjusting it.

Types of resistance

On the other hand, the best elliptical trainers works via electromagnetic resistance that modifies the effort required to move the pedals and the handlebars. In addition, the proprietary features of the elliptical trainers are the ability of providing high speed, light resistance routines, whereas for the treadclimbers are the exact opposite.

Expensive elliptical trainer

Lastly, the decision process should also take into account the price considerations, as while the cost of acquiring a treadclimber varies between 1,000 and 3,000 dollars, the elliptical trainer price can easily reach 7,000 dollars (fancy high-end gym equipment).

Round-up

Once you have reached a conclusion regarding the ideal fitness machine based on the aforementioned characteristics, it is finally time to read the best elliptical reviews and the best treadclimber reviews in order to make an educated purchase decision. Take into account the manufacturer, the options, customer and expert recommendations and you will surely acquire the best workout device that money can buy. Good luck!

You may also want to consider running outdoors.

 

Image credits:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lifecore/6923762460/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/18010221@N06/2086518153/

How I started running outdoors

I started running seriously because I didn’t want to be out of breath when running after the bus!

I used to run to warm up, cool down or to complement my weight-lifting training. I would spend up to 15 minutes running on the treadmill and because I found it so boring, I was unable to continue for much longer! One day I found it hard to run after the bus despite my short stint on the treadmill and that made me take running more seriously. Here is what I did.

From treadmill to outdoors

As the weather was very nice, I decided to do a test and see how running outside would be compared to the treadmill. There is a nice park near my house so I ran there. Much to my surprise I found it very hard and had to stop after 2 minutes! And I was thinking all along that my 15 minutes on the treadmill 3 times a week was keeping my cardio level in good condition. I concluded that bobbing up and down on a rubber carpet on the spot is nothing like running outside with the wind in your face and the terrain undulating.

So I took up to running outdoors. I would probably have done that anyway because I got bored on the treadmill before getting tired on it!

There is an asphalted path near my house leading to the field so instead of walking to the field and then running, I decided to just run up and down the path to save myself time. It would be drier as well on a wet day as there would be no grass to wet my shoes. Running on that path was a big mistake because the next day, my ankles were very sore from pounding this hard surface.

From asphalt to grass

You often hear how proper running shoes and a soft surface are important to help protect your joints. I believe joint problems are an issue in the long term if you run regularly. If you only run once or twice, then pounding the pavement should not cause any harmful effect as your body will have plenty of time to recover. My ankles felt sore because they were not used to this hard surface; they would certainly have adapted to it. However, since I intended to run regularly, my sore ankles reminded me to take care of my joints so I restricted myself to run on grass exclusively.

Let me tell you, running on grass is nothing like running on the treadmill. It is much much harder. It is also harder than running on the pavement because the grass absorbs all the shock. This is good news for your joints, and also for your fitness level as it means you have to work harder. Running on grass would probably be close to running in shallow water or on the sand.

As I found out earlier that I could not last more than 2 minutes running in the field, I did what other beginners do – mix walking and running. After a few sesions, I was running only and did 1 lap of 8 minutes. Later I did 2 laps for a long time and then moved on to 3 laps. I never walked afterwards.

My strategy to push myself

I believe you can’t improve at running if you do not measure your time and if you do not pace yourself accordingly. I used to start the first lap slow and easy as a warm-up, speed up in the second lap and then end up sprinting at the end of the final lap. With this strategy, in order for me to improve my time, I needed to either sprint faster at the end or start sprinting earlier. As there is a limit to how fast I can run, I had to start sprinting earlier. I also can’t keep at a sprint forever, so my speed goes time. In other words, for me to improve my time, I started running faster earlier and earlier and at the same time, my maximum speed went down.

Over time, I found myself starting to run fast from the beginning and trying to keep at this speed till the end. I was barely sprinting in the end because I pushed myself so hard from the start that I didn’t have much energy left.

Pain and warm-up

I kept running throughout winter as I was sufficiently motivated. The hardest part was to actually turn up on the field and get started. Once I started running, it was easier to continue. The next winter, my motivation was not as high and I stopped altogether. Spring came suddenly and the warm weather beckoned me outside. I went running for the first time after a winter of cardio inactivity and the good weather spurred me on. It was a good run and I was surprised and pleased at my level of fitness. However, the next day and the next week was agony for me. I had shin splits and could barely walk up the stairs. Until then, I was not warming up. After a whole winter of not running and then suddenly going all out, it was too much for my legs and I experienced for the first time how painful shin splits could be. During this painful period, I swore to myself to always warm up thoroughly.

I had to spend the next 2 months away from the field because every time I would start running, my shins would become painful again. I did some specific exercises I found on the internet for my shins, exercises which I could do at my desk.

When I had fully recovered, my new running routine started by gentle running for a few minutes mixed with stretching exercises. I didn’t rush and took my time. Once I felt loosened up, I started running flat out. No more warming up while doing my laps. This way was actually better for my performance because during the warming-up phase, I was able to get in a competitive mood to run hard so once I started running, there was no stopping me. I made great progress that way. I had started running 5 laps before the previous winter a few rare times and now I did it more frequently.

I have one tip for you from experience: have really comfortable shoes. They become really important the longer your run. Make sure your socks fit you properly as any small bit rubbing against your foot will end up giving you a nasty blister that will cause you to have to stop running for a while.

What makes me run

There are two things I really enjoy with running. The first one is the sense of accomplishment when I see that I beat my own tough record, especially on longer runs. The other is the endorphin that the body releases after running. I feel tired but also in high spirits. If the weather is good, I will lie down on the grass afterwards to enjoy it and rest.

I’m not a runner and I don’t find it easy at all to run. But the rewards are good and I just need a 20-minute run to feel fully invigorated and exercised.