Sentara Martha Jefferson HealthWise: Running safety

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Running has a variety of physical and mental benefits.

Whether you are interested in getting started or want to improve your running, Dr. Alexandra Bender of Sentara Martha Jefferson's Forest Lakes Family Medicine shares a few tips on how to do those things safely.

She says it is never a bad idea to check in with your primary care doctor before setting out to start running or working out, especially if you have chronic medical issues.

Once you have proper shoes that will support and fit your feet, you are ready to get started, but Bender advises to take it slow at first to not risk getting injured.

"Running, even just starting with walking, and increasing your pace or walking at a pace where you should be able to talk but not necessarily easily carry on a conversation," she said.

Over time, once you feel comfortable, it is good to add some variety to your cardio like strength training, stretching or even joining other runners.

"The Charlottesville Track Club has lots of groups that train for a variety of distances,” Bender said. “People who like to do shorter distances and focus more on speed and incorporating some speed workouts and track work, it's great for both the shorter distances and longer distances."

One of the most important things to keep in mind, no matter what stage you are at, is to stay hydrated.

"When it's 70 degrees or warmer outside, and particularly when it's humid as well and has that high dew point,” Bender said. “Just important to be hydrating more than you think. And being outside in the early morning hours and the evening when it's a little cooler out."

If you are running outside during those cooler hours, be sure to wear reflective clothing so you can be seen by others and do not risk the chance of being in an accident.

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