Running Into the Summer

A woman running on a sunny beach

With spring and summer coming in hot, running may be the best way to get in shape while tackling a host of chronic diseases. Beginning regular running workouts is not as hard as it seems. It is not as complicated as lifting and can be more rewarding than simply going for a walk. There are plenty of benefits to running, and getting started may be easier than you think!

Benefits of Running


Running is a fantastic way to reduce your risk of disease, control chronic disease, and improve your mental health. All you need to start is a good pair of shoes.

Compared to non-runners, those who do run had 30% and 45% lower adjusted risks of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, respectively, with a 3-year life expectancy benefit. This was with some participants running less than 6 miles or 51 minutes per week at a pace slower than 10 minutes per mile. The most important factor was consistent weekly running. These benefits come in several different physiological pathways, but one of the most prominent is increasing cardiovascular output. Essentially, your heart and blood vessels become more efficient at supplying your body with oxygen.

Studies have shown the benefit of running goes beyond simple weight loss. Along with other forms of exercise, running increases insulin sensitivity, which counters Type II Diabetes. Those running with diabetes should be cautious about managing their blood glucose level. Keep glucose logs before and after exercises and stay well-hydrated to prevent dramatic changes in levels. Have a quickly absorbable glucose tablet on hand to combat hypoglycemia.

In general, exercise has been shown to improve factors that contribute to mental health disorders, such as reduced stress, improved mood, and better quality of sleep. All of these will help reduce the chance of developing mental health disorders. In fact, a systematic review in 2020 found that running regularly helps to tackle anxiety disorders and depression directly.

Warm-Ups & Stretches

An infographic from Premier Health showing nine static stretches to improve flexibility. These stretches include hip flexor, standing quadriceps, standing single arm, inner thigh/groin, hamstring, rotation stretch, hip stretching, gastroc stretch, and  chest/bicep stretch

Getting started on a running routine might seem daunting, but the distance and speed do not matter! The fact that you are getting out and doing it is what matters. A good routine is what is going to help you build a good habit.

Start with a dynamic warm-up. This could include jumps, butt kicks, high-knees, and Mario jumps, along with a light jog. Get at least ten minutes of warming up before moving on to your stretches. You can adapt this to address specific areas that are bothering you during your run.

At this point, you are good to start static stretching. This means stretching in place. This is your normal “touch your toes” stretching. Start with that, followed by standing with your legs spread and touching the ground between your legs as well as each foot. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds to get the benefit. This is a basic start to your stretches but you can develop your own routine. Make sure to include stretches for your quadriceps, hip flexors, calves, and hamstrings. Repeat this stretching routine after your run as well.

Hydration, Diet, & Recovery

Now, you are ready to go out and run! How long to run and how fast to run is completely up to you. There are tons of programs online that you can follow. This is where you can set goals such as training to complete a marathon or a 5k. The majority of the benefits listed above are achieved just by getting out and running. The most important rule when increasing your mileage is a 10% progression. This means you do not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%, or you dramatically increase your chance of injury.

As you begin your running journey and increase your mileage, fueling your body before and after your run is important. Enhancing your water intake with electrolytes is vital to keeping your body hydrated through your runs. As you run, you burn through the glycogen in your muscles, so you need to eat within 30 minutes of your workout to replenish that muscle glycogen. This will boost your recovery time and make sure you have enough energy for your next run. All of these tips, including stretching, should be followed between runs and during your recovery. The most important thing is to get out and be active, and running is a great way to accomplish that movement!


Lee DC, Pate RR, Lavie CJ, Sui X, Church TS, Blair SN. Leisure-time running reduces all-cause and cardiovascular mortality risk. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014 Aug 5;64(5):472-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2014.04.058. Erratum in: J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014 Oct 7;64(14):1537. PMID: 25082581; PMCID: PMC4131752.

Borhade MB, Singh S. Diabetes and Exercise. [Updated 2022 Sep 5]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from:

Oswald F, Campbell J, Williamson C, Richards J, Kelly P. A Scoping Review of the Relationship between Running and Mental Health. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Nov 1;17(21):8059. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17218059. PMID: 33139666; PMCID: PMC7663387.

Dr. Ethan Ames, a chiropractor at Total Health Systems

Ethan Ames's Bio

Dr. Ethan Ames earned his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from the Frederik Meijer Honors College at Grand Valley State University. There he developed a passion for rehabilitation and the healing that movement can provide. He went on to graduate Cum Laude from Palmer College of Chiropractic – Florida with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. He is a Metro Detroit native who has always been dedicated to helping and serving the community, even achieving the rank of eagle scout in high school. He returned to Michigan with a loving fiancé and 2 year old son. Dr. Ethan was an avid Rower throughout highschool and college. He still enjoys being on the water any chance he can get and is a volunteer rowing coach during the season. He is dedicated to serving his patients with the skills and knowledge he has obtained through his studies and will help those patients achieve their health goals.