Lunden Souza: Mix up run routine with other exercises

April 12, 2013 

Running is something that I really love to do, whether it is a short or long distance.

Running helps clear my mind, give me space, give me exercise and give me the opportunity to explore the world around me. Running is something that I can do absolutely anywhere as long as the weather is decent.

I think I love running today more than I ever have in my life because I have learned to take care of myself while running, and I try to make my runs new and interesting by incorporating exercises throughout.

When I was younger, I played a lot of soccer, and ran some track and cross country. My knee would bug me a lot and I never really did any of the exercises or stretching that the doctor instructed to do to make me better.

It really wasn't something that I thought would work, and as a kid, I really did not want to take the time.

Today I make sure that I foam roll and do a dynamic warm-up before a run then foam roll and do a static stretching cool down afterwards. Giving back to your body really is effective and rewarding; I run and hike today without any knee pain.

Good quality shoes are also very important when running, and it is best to find the type and style that works best and feels best for you. Certain stores are better than others in helping you pick out the correct size and style so you always want to make sure to do your research so you know your shoes will support you properly.

When I run I love to throw in exercises to really mix it up, get my blood pumping and torch more calories. I add exercises such as push-ups, forward jump squats, step ups, tricep dips, mountain climbers, walking lunges and burpees. You can use a park bench or curb for incline or decline push-ups, tricep dips and incline mountain climbers.

To stick to something it has to be fun, exciting, new, innovative and refreshing. So incorporate some exercises into your run whether you are at home or going for a run to while sightseeing at a vacation spot.

The world is full of so many amazing things and being able to run, or even walk, around and see new things, new faces and hear new sounds is very necessary and inspiring.

You can always choose other exercises that you love and throw those into your run. Change it up every time that you run so your body is always being challenged in new ways and you are not feeling bored and unmotivated.

Spring has sprung so it's time to be creative and innovative with workouts, taking extra time for mind and body nourishment.

Try letting go and heading out on a run this weekend.

Lunden Souza, a Merced native, is a personal trainer, health and wellness coach, and writer in Southern California. She can be reached at

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