5 Wondrous Ways Running Improves Your Health—Plus, How to Get Started
How to find the right gear.
The results are in: Walking and running are two of the best ways to ensure a healthier life. But if you have no idea where to begin, don't worry. "Just string together enough workouts where you finish just a little farther or a little less out of breath than the day before, and you'll quickly become a better runner," says Nike+ Running Global head coach Chris Bennett. "Consistency is key." To start you off on the right foot, we've rounded up the newest fitness equipment every novice runner needs.
From top to bottom:
1. TriggerPoint Nano Foot Roller
You know you should stretch after a workout, but too many runners neglect their feet. Plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of tissue along the bottom of the foot, affects roughly two million people each year, including both flat-footed runners and those with high arches. Use this mini foam roller to release tension: Stand (or sit on the edge of a chair); place the roller on the floor; put your foot on top; and move it back and forth from heel to toe, concentrating on tender spots. ($25; tptherapy.com)
2. Up2 by Jawbone
Every other week, it seems, there's another fitness tracker on the market. This is one health trend that lives up to the hype: A study found that people who used step counters increased their physical activity by 27 percent. We like this new device because it's one of the more affordable, and its stylish minimalist design looks more like arm candy than gadgetry. ($100; jawbone.com)
To enhance recovery, don't forget to hydrate before, during and after your workout. Runners need at least one to two more cups of water than the USDA-suggested nine. This water bottle comes equipped with a weight sensor and accelerometer that attaches to the bottom to measure your consumption, gulp by gulp. No, you don't need all the bells and whistles—but if they help motivate you, why not? ($79; h2opal.com)
4. Nike Lunarglide 7
These recently released lightweight running sneakers are perfect for beginners; you'll have a little bounce in your step but still feel stable. Extra midsole support keeps your feet from pronating (rolling inward)—an issue common among many runners, especially those with flat feet. ($120; nike.com)