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March 30, 2010

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Running for healthy heart and nice figure

FOR most people, running is the easiest form of exercise, but it needs to be regular, systematic and correctly practiced to achieve cardio fitness, weight loss and a good body.

Running requires only proper shoes and comfortable clothing and you can run outdoors, on trails, on a track, in the neighborhood or on a treadmill in a gym.

Running benefits the cardiovascular system, improves metabolism and promotes weight loss, improves coordination, energizes, reduces stress and improves the mood.

Regular runners (and exercisers in general) seem to age more slowly than those who lead a sedentary life.

"Running can improve the cardio-pulmonary function, and long-distance running like marathon can strengthen your will power," says Zhao Ruifeng, a runner who takes part in four marathons a year.

Pace, correct body position and frequency are important. To get the benefits, you need to run often and for a sustained period, say at least 40 minutes three or four times a week; four is better than three.

Running at different paces and for different distances can improve different aspects of health, says Zhao. Short-distance dashes can improve explosive force, while long-distance jogging can aids in weight loss and improves the figure.

Heart rate is a measurement of different running types for different purposes. Usually, the predicted maximal heart rate is 220 minus one's age. If the heart rate stays at 65-75 percent of the predicted maximal heart rate, it is a mild run that warms you up and makes you sweat slightly.

If your heart rate stays at 75-85 percent of the maximal heart rate, it is a medium run that helps burning carbohydrates in the first 20 minutes, and then burns fat afterward.

That's the best level for weight loss. If you run at 85-90 percent of the maximal heart rate, it's anaerobic exercise that strengthens muscles, bones and the cardio-vascular system.

For beginners, Zhao suggests a pace that can be maintained for 30 minutes without becoming breathless. Eight kilometers an hour is about right for most healthy people. Run several times a week and increase frequency and intensity.

Developing a regular running plan with a professional coach can help you achieve your goals more effectively. Some people use interactive training tools such as adidas miCoach.

Though everybody thinks they know how to run, there are right ways and wrong ways to run. Correct position and foot placement are important to reduce impact stress and prevent damage.

Running on fore-sole (ball of the foot) is common among new runners, but improper because it puts a lot of stress on the muscles in the calves and may damage shins and knees in the long run. Also, many women do not want muscular legs.

The best form is to land on the heel, transfer the center of gravity to the fore-sole and move forward with the toes. When landing the knees should be slightly bent.

Warming up and stretching before running is important. Squats, twisting the waist and ankles are helpful.

After running it's important to cool down, stretch, knock on both thighs and shake arms and legs. This helps reduce sore muscles afterward and helps prevent bulging muscles.

The best time for running is usually from 3pm to 5pm because body temperature peaks and muscles are supple, but the best time is the time that's best for a given individual.

Don't run on a full stomach, wait at least an hour, but if you want a good workout, do eat a meal with carbohydrates. Running within three hours before you plan to sleep may keep you awake and energized.

Drink water during and after a run, a little each time. It's best to drink before you feel really thirsty.

Fun Running

Running is easy but it can get boring, especially on a treadmill.

Some tips to keep it interesting:

Change the time of day.

Change the place, different scenery makes running more interesting.

Vary the pace. After warming up you can run 800 meters at a relatively high sped, then slow down for another 800 and so on.

Listen to cheery, energizing music.

Run with friends. You should be able to talk at an easy job or run.

Rest. You don't have to run every day. Taking one or two days off a week will improve your running.

Asparagus is rich in antioxidants, folate, protein and fiber. It can improve digestion and act as a diuretic.

Asparaginic acid in asparagus is used in dietary therapy for blood vessel-related problems, edema and urinary problems. Asparaginase in asparagus can help prevent and control leukemia.

It contains micro-elements such as selenium, molybdenum, chromium and manganese that can boost immunity and have cancer-fighting benefits.

Traditional Chinese medicine classifies asparagus as a mildly "cold" ("yin") vegetable that acts as a diuretic, nourishes the lungs, relives coughing, dissolves phlegm and kills parasites.

Eating asparagus often helps treat heart ailments, high blood pressure, edema, bladder inflammation, hardening of blood vessel, kidney inflammation and gallstones.

Asparagus, egg and tomato salad

Ingredients: Asparagus (250g), tomato (100g), 2 eggs, mayonnaise


1. Boil and chop asparagus, boil and chop eggs, chop tomato.

2. Combine, add mayonnaise, salt and pepper.

Benefits: Improves digestion, relieves edema and high blood pressure.

Asparagus and shrimp

Ingredients: shelled shrimp (50g), asparagus (150g), green onion, ginger slices


1. Chop asparagus, boil quickly, remove while crisp.

2. Fry ginger and green onion.

3. Add shrimp and asparagus, fry quickly.

4. Season with yellow wine, salt to taste.

Benefits: Aids digestion, acts as diuretic, benefits urinary system.


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