Beyond Trim: Ready to run?

Cellulite on the back of my thighs motivated me to start running again more than 20 years ago.

I was on the track team in middle school, but I hadn’t run in decades. Once I returned to the sport, I was serious about it. I competed in a lot of 5K and 10K races and even ran the Chicago Marathon.

I’m not racking up the miles like I did then, but I still enjoy a long jog once a week. Not only does it keep the cellulite at bay, but it also makes me feel fit, confident, and athletic. Other benefits include spending time outside in nature and having long blocks of time to think. I also like to participate in the local runs and walks for charity and it keeps me in shape to do those.

Maybe you think you would like to take up running, too. Here is some advice to keep in mind:

Start slow and build. Few people can go from couch to 5K overnight. If you’re not already a walker, that would be the place to start. If you’re walking regularly, you can start alternating jogging with walking for short distances.

When I started running again, I used the indoor track. I would run a lap, then walk a lap. I couldn’t even complete a full lap when I started, but I gradually built up my endurance and aerobic capacity.

Lighten up: When you’re pounding the pavement, extra pounds make a difference. Running is a high impact sport, and extra pounds create more pressure on joints like hips, knees, and ankles, as well as your feet.

If you carry a lot of extra weight, work on calorie control and stick to lower-impact activities like walking, swimming, and bicycling until you reach a body weight that makes running more comfortable.

Wear good shoes: A good pair of running shoes is the most important piece of equipment for any runner. Shoe technology has changed a lot over the decades, with more options available to address specific foot issues, running surfaces, distances, and running speeds.

I recommend visiting a store that specializes in running shoes to help you find the best shoe for your situation. If you don’t have access to a running store, the Runner’s World website is also a great resource.

Whether you were an athlete in school wanting to return to your glory days or you’re just interested in the fitness and mental health benefits, running can be a great activity. If you decide to give it a try, Maybe I will run into you at the next local 5K.

Sherry DeWalt is the healthy lifestyles coordinator for the CGH Health Foundation in Sterling.