Starting a running program is a great way to ease into exercise and jump start your fitness. If done properly, you can prevent overuse injuries by slowly increasing your mileage. Here are five benefits of starting a running program:


1. Weight loss

We all know that to lose weight it’s important to exercise. By adding 30-60 mins of moderate exercise three times per week, you will boost your metabolism which will ultimately help get rid of that unwanted belly fat. To maximize weight loss, try reducing your caloric intake by 200-300 calories per day and make sure to eat plenty of vegetables and protein.


2. Increased energy

Running increases blood flow which carries oxygen to muscles. This allows them to produce more energy keeping you more alert throughout the day. It also stimulates chemicals in your body to keep you awake. Instead of drinking a cup of coffee, try going for a 20-30 min morning or lunchtime run to wake you up.


3. Improved mood

Besides giving you more confidence in the way you look, the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion found that exercising 30-60 mins per day three times per week increases endorphins (Dopamine and Serotonin) in the body which helps make you feel happier. This can help reduce anxiety and depression.


4. Better sleep

There is nothing better than a good night’s sleep after a hard run. Research shows that people who perform 150 mins of exercise per week get a more restful night’s sleep. Rest is an extremely important, and often overlooked, component of a well-balanced exercise program. Eight hours of sleep will improve your metabolism and help your body recover from your training program so that you are refreshed and ready for your next run.


5. Progress to a more advanced exercise routine

If running a marathon seems like a daunting task, starting an easy running program of one to two miles a few times per week can help give you the confidence to increase your running frequency, speed and overall time running. Before you know it, that marathon that seemed impossible may just sound like your next bucket list item to tackle!


If you’re interested in easing into a new running program, the Foothills Running Group may be the place for you. Join us on Saturday, August 25th at 7 am at FAST Ahwatukee for an informational meeting and fun run. Learn more here.

Ramping up your mileage as you train for the Mesa-PHX Marathon? As you progress through your training, you may begin to notice pain, weakness, or fatigue that’s limiting your workout. Overuse injuries are often ignored by athletes, marathon runners and even weekend warriors, but if you ignore them for too long, they can lead to a halt in your running—and even prevent you from completing your goal of running a marathon.

At Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy, we treat an array of runners to assist with overuse injuries. One approach, that’s growing with popularity, is trigger point dry needling (TDN). This treatment is used to treat myofascial trigger points which are hypersensitive taut palpable bands of muscle tissue. In addition to these bands of tissue being painful, they also cause restricted range of motion and decreased muscle performance.

Dry needling is performed by inserting a thin, sterile, filiform needle through the surface of the skin into the muscle tissue. Once the needle is inserted the therapist may use a fanning technique (dynamic needling) or leave the needle in the same location for several minutes (static needling).

There are several mechanisms by which TDN provides pain relief. One way that TDN works is by causing a local twitch response (LTR) of the trigger point, promoting relaxation of the taut band. In addition to the LTR, the pin prick of the needle causes the body’s natural pain relievers to be released by the brain and spinal cord, it also stimulates deep blood flow to the muscle which promotes healing, and decreases local inflammatory mediators.

All of these mechanisms allow you to recover quickly from your overuse injury and continue your marathon training program. Interested in learning more about dry needling? Contact us today to set up a Rapid Recovery Free Injury Assessment where you’ll meet one-on-one to discuss your concerns with a licensed physical therapist. Many of our therapists are passionate about running, so we’ll do our part to get you safely to the Mesa-PHX Marathon race line. I’m currently training for the Mesa-PHX half marathon and it will be my 18th half marathon race.

Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy is a proud sponsor of the 2018 Mesa-PHX Marathon. We’ll be set up the day of the marathon in the Runner Recovery tents to help ease any aches and pains after the race.