The summer heat has made way for a crisp chill in the air, meaning now is an ideal time to head off the treadmill and into the great outdoors for a run — and scoping out the fall foliage isn’t the only reason you should lace up your sneakers.

“The main benefit of running is the cardiovascular benefit that keeps your pipes clean,” says Hal Higdon, author of “Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide” and a longtime contributor to “Runner’s World.” “It strengthens your heart, and by improving your engine you’re less likely to wind up with circulation problems later.”

The benefits go beyond the purely physical, Higdon adds.

“We all struggle with stress, and running gives us this time out that we need to relax. You can’t text when you run,” he says.

 

Novice runners shouldn’t be intimidated to get started.

“I never underestimate the power of determination,” says Manhattan-based trainer Melissa Paris. “As long as you don’t have any serious injuries, it’s easy to join a 5K.”

For budding runners looking to ease into a routine, Paris advises building from a 10-15 minute jog, adding five minutes as your body gets used to the run, until you reach your goal. Running with a friend can also be helpful for safety and a boost in morale.

The most important thing, Paris says, is that you should be enjoying your workout.

“If you feel like you’re cramming it in then the runs tend to be unenjoyable,” Paris says. “Pick a time that works for you when you feel your best.”

And it’s hard not to be motivated when you think about all the good that running can do for you.

“If you’re involved with running, you can limit extra pounds,”?Higdon says. “That more than anything benefits the whole structure. Running allows you to have a healthier body and a healthier mind.”

Shoe we love

You won’t have a good run if you don’t have the right footwear.



We’re head over heels for Brooks’ new PureProject, literally the lightest shoes we’ve ever stepped foot in. There are four styles to choose from in the new line, each designed to get you in “biomechanical alignment” so you hit your proper stride right off the bat. $90-$120,

www.brooksrunning.com

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