Life in Gurgaon

Be a natural, run like a child: Expert tells fitness lovers in Gurugram

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“Human beings are meant to move”, said Dr Rajat Chauhan, a sports-exercise medical expert who has been an avid runner for the last three decades, to 25 running enthusiasts.

The session was organised by Hindustan Times, in association with Indian Medical Association, Gurugram, to help citizens reclaim the joy of running, get fitter and reduce susceptibility to injuries.

Chauhan apprised the audience, in the six to 60 age group who had gathered at Dr Malik’s Prime Clinic in Sector 52, on the importance of movement for the human body. He said that running is one of the most natural and simple forms of exercise and explained ways to do it right, how to prevent injuries while running, the sports gear one needs and warm up one needs to do before running.

Chauhan began by busting the myth that one needs to do different stretches before a run. He said, “You don’t need to do complicated stretches — trying to raise the legs, bending back all the way — before you start running. Do the simple one-leg heel raises.”

He told those present to think of themselves as puppets, being pulled up by invisible strings, and to land softly. He said, “Doing this 10 times with each leg is sufficient warm up before a run. Beginners can actually do a minute of walking and 30 seconds of running alternatively.”

Chauhan emphasised landing softly on the feet with the hip, shin, knee, heel and foot, instead of with a heavy thud just with the knee. He said, “Kids run with all parts of their leg. As we grow up, we somehow stop running that way, which is the natural way. One-leg heel raises help to bring equal stability and movement in both legs and this is a prerequisite for running right.”

The session was an equal mix of Chauhan’s demonstration and audience questions. Anoop Bhat, a corporate professional and Ardee city resident, inquired about the importance of hydration during running. He asked, “How much water is to be consumed during running?”

Chauhan said, “Plain water is not right; what you need are electrolytes. If you are going for a long run or marathon, keep alternating between water and electrolytes every two kilometres and you will be fine. But remember to not overdrink plain water just because they say drinking a lot of water is a must. Drink to quench your thirst.”

Busting another common myth, Chauhan also said that there is no such thing as running shoes or performance-enhancing shoes. He said, “Shoes are primarily about protecting your feet from pricks and snow; they do not affect your performance. There are no performance enhancer shoes, so don’t worry about it. Just wear something that supports your feet from both sides.”

The session also saw the participation of running enthusiasts from Delhi and Noida. Psychologist Divya Parashar, who had come from Noida to attend the session, said, “Rajat Chauhan is my doctor and colleague. I have always wanted to attend one of his running talks. The simple tips he mentioned, I think, will help me run faster and longer.”