The Toronto Observer

Science & Health Sports

Benefits of running fuel all-season exercise

By Lauren LiBetti | Posted: Jan 31 2013 2:40 pm

The Rouge River Roadrunners run year round. The running club runs three times a week around Scarborough and parts of Pickering.

Courtesy of Alan Carter

The Rouge River Roadrunners run year round. The running club runs three times a week around Scarborough and parts of Pickering.

It started in 1984 with a group of individuals who ran together on a regular basis. Today, despite minor obstacles, the Rouge River Roadrunners continue the tradition.

“Our members are male and female, ranging in age from their late 20s to 60s. We run year round … through rain, snow and just about everything else,” Alan Carter, 15-year member of the Rouge River Roadrunners, said.

Alicia Savona, a physiotherapist at Sunnybrook hospital’s Holland Orthopaedic and Arthritic Centre, speaks about the benefits of running, including the all-season running of the Rouge River Roadrunners.

“Running is a great cardiovascular exercise. It has a lot of benefits for your muscles, heart, lungs, circulation and general well being,” Savona said. “As long as you are safe and relatively healthy, you should be able to do it in all weather.”

The Rouge River Roadrunners meet three times a week at the Port Union Community Centre in Scarborough. Outdoor running presents some minor obstacles unseen in indoor running. The group perseveres in light of the physical, mental and emotional benefits of the activity.

Running is a great cardiovascular exercise. It has a lot of benefits for your muscles, heart, lungs, circulation and general well being.

—Alicia Savona

A common concern for outdoor runners is motor vehicles.

“We literally have to have eyes in the back of our heads,” Carter said. “You have to be very careful in regards to cars. We try to be very observant of the vehicles and try to get out of the way.”

Savona describes cold weather as a potential challenge. She says certain factors should be considered when choosing clothing.

“You have to take in consideration layering, staying dry, wet conditions, snowy conditions and risking hypothermia. You want to layer and make sure you have materials that keep moisture away from your body,” Savona said.

While running on the road comprises much of their route, the Rouge River Roadrunners also run on trails and tracks. Uneven surfaces are common and runners proceed with caution.

“You want to be careful running on different surfaces. Running on uneven surfaces can irritate hips, ankles and your knees,” Savona said. “If you have a history of joint problems, previous falls or fractures, you want to be careful with uneven surfaces. It’s a common injury.”

Since Carter started running with the Roadrunners in the late ‘90s, dogs have been a small issue. Dogs that are off their leashes run in front of the group and can trip runners.

The Roadrunners are not discouraged by these minor obstacles and describe the activity as worth every minute. An evening run recently confirmed this to Carter.

“One Thursday night a guy said “let’s run along the Rouge River Trail.’ I said ‘There’s no lights along the trail, you’re crazy.’ We get on the trail and there is a beautiful moon lighting the way,” Carter said. “There are quite a lot of highlights.”

Savona views running as a beneficial exercise when runners push themselves gradually and safely.

“It can help you at any age. It helps maintain the strength in your muscle, bone density and proper bone growth,” Savona said. “It helps your emotional wellbeing … being outdoors, being in a group and regular scheduled enjoyable exercise.”


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About this article:

By: Lauren LiBetti
Copy editor: Naomi Grosman and Mark Cadiz
Posted: Jan 31 2013 2:40 pm | Last updated: Jan 10 2014 2:56 pm
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Filed in: Science & Health, Sports
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