Run Forrest, Run. part 2

Why should you run versus other forms of cardio?

Running is great because it does not require any equipment. As long as you have running shoes and a safe location, you can run. Indoors or outdoors, running is a simple form of cardio that shows real progress.

Unlike an elliptical or stationary bike, you do not have to be inside or a member of gym to benefit from cardio. This is especially convenient if you travel and do not have access to a gym. I studied abroad in Spain for 5 weeks, and guess what I did every morning? That’s right, I ran. I saw more and experienced more than I ever thought I could, because I got out of my comfort zone and truly experienced the beautiful geography everyday. I saw amazing sunrises rising over the ocean, explored different cities, found new museums and parks to visit, and passed restaurants I wanted to try. My running partner and I loved our morning runs. Check out some of the places I would run:

The Barcelona boardwalk

The Barcelona boardwalk

El Retiro Park

El Retiro Park in Madrid

Running is also easier for keeping track of progress. Shorter times or longer distances are perfect ways to know that you are constantly amping up your workout and pushing yourself to your best effort. In addition, if a run does become easier, it is because you are beginning to master the task. That’s wonderful news! That means your body is getting used to the effort you are putting on your body and feels more experienced.

Running is also a better choice than exercise classes, because you do not have to deal with crowds or hot, sweaty rooms. If running, you can be by yourself in quiet to collect your thoughts. You won’t have to worry about having enough room during your workout and sweating profusely because of others. And when you run, you can push yourself harder because you don’t have to slow down for others who don’t know what they are doing.

Running is also a great because you don’t need others to do it. Team sports like soccer and football require others to make the sport and the exercise even possible. However, what if you were on a volleyball team and wanted to workout one day? It is hard to do your best workout and training alone. Team sports need other people for it to be efficient. If you run, you don’t need others. You can do it anytime of day, anywhere without needing to rely on others to make it happen.

That is one of the best parts of running. If you do run or compete in a race, the time you get is all you. You were the one who put in the time and effort, no one else made you do that well. It is a true sense of self-accomplishment and very rewarding to know that you did so well all on you own. It’s fun to let others know your best times, and to know that if you eventually beat those times it was because you worked hard to achieve them.

So, lace up those sneakers and start running! Stay tuned for the last part of this series: how to make running enjoyable.

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You Wanna Put Needles Where?

Acupuncture. It’s a word that strikes fear and apprehension into every soul as soon as they hear it. You begin imagining either some hippie or Chinese herbalist jamming needles into your skin, most likely causing pain, while you helplessly look on trapped. So, when my doctor recommended I receive weekly acupuncture to deal with health problems, I was naturally hesitant. I do not respond to well to pain and I hate needles, so the idea of laying on a table unable to move while someone basically gives you pain was not an enticing idea. Nope. Not gonna do it. Sorry.

Well I did. And after one failed attempt at acupuncture 2 weeks before, the time came for a second attempt at a new office. I walked in to the office and sat nervously waiting for my turn. When the time came, the acupuncturist and I talked about my health issues, she then laid me down, and seriously, the next thing I know I had about 15 needles in my body. I didn’t even feel them go in. I was amazed. This was nothing like the previous situation.

acupuncture.jpg

As I lay there slipping into some sort of sleepy state, she explained to me what acupuncture is and why it’s important.

Acupuncture, as defined by Live Science, is an unconventional medical practice of stimulating different organs and tissues, usually through the use of needles and herbs. Basically, ancient Chinese and Asian cultures believe that all of our bodies have a flow of energy, called Chi. When our Chi is disrupted, we begin to manifest pains and problems. By placing needles in different stimulating points, our disrupted Chi is relieved and the Chi travels through body channels called meridians. In more modern terms, our Chi can be referred to as our nervous system and hormones, and the needles can help stimulate more efficient function.

Acupuncture can be used to treat all sorts of health issues and diseases, such as arthritis, digestive issues, reproductive problems and infertility, autoimmune disorders, muscle pain, joint aches, and more. What’s even crazier is that wherever the pain is, the needle isn’t typically going to go in that area. To treat my health problems, I had needles in my head, elbows, knees, hands, and feet, which were nowhere near my problem areas. Over the course of the next 4 months, I returned weekly for treatment.

A few key things to look for in an acupuncturist:

  • Are they a licensed acupuncturist? And more importantly, are they licensed in your state?
  • Do they do hard or soft acupuncture? (Choose soft!)
  • Double check that they use new needles every time and dispose of the used needles properly. This is a medical treatment and should be treated as so.

It’ s key that you are 100% comfortable and trusting of the individual who is treating you. If you are tense or nervous for any reason, it is not going to be a great treatment and your benefits will be lessened.  Many holistic or integrative medicine offices offer acupuncture or can recommend an acupuncturist, but feel free to ask around for whom your friends may prefer.

Don’t be afraid to get acupuncture! It is a very wonderful and beneficial medical practice, and is one of the top reasons I had such great health recovery. Oh, and you can totally tell people you had needles willingly shoved in your body once. Next Evil Knievel perhaps?