With gyms closed and fitness classes cancelled, many people are choosing to use the government’s unlimited exercise time to spend exercising outdoors. Perhaps you have been walking, or cycling or even started to run or jog to mix things up. This is great in helping you stay active and healthy during the lockdown as well as get a good dose of vitamin D. But what happens to the body after your session? A number of things can happen to the body during and after running and it’s good to understand how it all works.
After stretching and setting off, the first thing people usually notice is that they start breathing heavier. This is because the body is taking in more oxygen for the heart to pump blood around the body to deliver it to the muscles. The body also needs additional adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – energy molecules. The body does contain these but not as many that are required for a run. To create these, the body needs more oxygen so a person will be breathing more.
New runners in particular often find that their nose runs or itches. This happens because blood flows through capillaries in the nose which may not have been used for a long time. It can irritate nerve endings making the brain think the nose needs a scratch.
Once the run is completed your body will start to slow the energy needed and in a short time breathing will return to normal. This is the great part of the run as the brain produces dopamine which is known as a feel-good hormone. The chemical reaction can have a positive effect on mental health.
It’s important that post-run a person recovers properly. Rehydrate the water lost and opt for good sources of carbohydrates and protein that the body will have broken down. A smoothie is often a great way of doing this, and adding some protein powder to it can really give it a nutritional boost. For an added boost, try mixing in a scoop of protein. There are several out on the market so have a look. I would recommend ones which are lower in sugar. And if you’re a vegan try Veganicity SuperReds.
When running the body burns glycogen which raises your body temperature. It is natural to sweat at this point as it is the body’s way of trying to regulate temperature and stop overheating.
Running is a form of exercise which is free and is great for both the body and mind. Remember, it is as simple as one foot in front of the other. It doesn’t matter how far or fast you start out, just be pleased that you have started. Try combining jogging with walking until you have built up a steady flow of complete jogging for the duration of your run. Who knows, next year you might be participating in a marathon.
If you need motivation. There are plenty of apps and gadgets to assist you. Garmin is a popular one which has a wealth of expertise when it comes to running, from how to use your data to get to run 5km, or helping you get across the finish line of an ultra-marathon, to keeping your mental and physical help in the best shape for you.
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