The first Wednesday in June of each year marks National Running Day, a day that the National Day Calendar designates as “a day for runners to reaffirm their passion for running… [or begin] a life-changing commitment to running.”
With gyms and public gatherings remaining closed and prohibited through the summer in Southern California due to extended Stay-at-Home Orders, now is an ideal time to pick up a new healthy habit, such as running. K. Aleisha Fetters and Alison Feller of Shape Magazine highlight some of the many benefits of running in their article 12 Benefits of Running That Make You Healthier (and Happier), benefits which include improved overall heart-health, joint strengthening, being able to target various leg and core muscles in one centralized workout, and potentially even improved memory and brain growth.
That being said, although running is a great solo-sport, it’s still important to take proper precautions against COVID-19 when working out in public spaces. Because of the activity’s recent rise in popularity, both neighborhood streets and trails have become more populated by walkers, joggers, and runners alike, so it is important to remain mindful about social distancing as well as wearing proper face-coverings. By planning your workouts earlier in the morning (before or during sunrise) and later (as the sun sets, or after sundown) as more seasoned runners do, you’ll have a better chance at avoiding bigger crowds and having a healthier, and less stressful, running experience.
If you’re the kind of runner that enjoys wilderness trails and parks over street-running, the California Department of Parks and Recreation has a COVID-19 Resource Center that is frequently updated with information on park closures and modifications, implemented safety measures, and new visitor guidelines. In visiting places that have safety guidelines and restrictions in place, and by following said guidelines, you’re not only keeping yourself and others safe, but you’re also supporting communities and places that care about your health and the health of others.
Last of all, but certainly not least, one of the best ways to stay healthy while running is by running properly, knowing common injuries and how to avoid them, and stretching properly and thoroughly before and after each run. Protecting your ankles, shins, calves, and knees is just as important as protecting your immune system, and will help you become a stronger and better runner and overall athlete.