I like to go running and it’s my main form of exercise, but I fear I’m not getting a full body workout. Is there a way to work more than my legs and heart while on a run?
Running is a great workout. It does a fantastic job of training your heart, lungs and lower body, however, you’re right, it’s not a full body workout.
Running does not effectively train your core, back and upper extremities. And while it sounds like a good solution to run with wrist weights, exercise bands or various flexing devices in order to work the upper body, doing so can not only be ineffective, but also dangerous. When you’re running your mind should be on setting your pace, controlling your breath and maintaining good posture.
To ensure you get a full body workout without compromising your run, add strength training intervals into your routine. The best intervals use body weight exercises that target several muscles in as few exercises as possible, without needing a gym.
Before you hit the ground running, warm the body and strengthen your core with plank positions. Hold your front plank and side plank for 30 seconds for up to one minute each.
Perform 10-12 repetitions of each exercise:
Push-ups version 1: Keep hands wide to target chest, shoulders and upper body.
Squats: Feet a little wider than hip width targets glutes, hamstrings and quads to ensure muscle balance (very important to prevent injuries associated with running).
Push-ups version 2: Keep hands narrow to target triceps.
Superman pose: Lying face down with arms overhead, lift your right arm and left leg, hold for a count of 10 and then switch sides. Repeat 6-10 times. This move targets your back and core.
Please note that if you are the type of runner who does not like to break once you get started then you can incorporate these exercises at the end of your run. I recommend performing three sets of the exercise with a rest period of one minute in between sets.
About the Health Expert: Sarah Brown is a very healthy woman. She is not only a fitness instructor at Goodlife where she teaches Body Pump, Body Flow, boot camp and yoga but she is also a registered holistic nutritionist.