Are you just about to start your running adventure or are you training for an event?? Has the extra time during the corona virus given you the extra time to get out in the fresh air? Running is a fantastic way to start your fitness journey. It is estimated more than 2 million of us run at least once a week and around 15,000 took part in last summers Manchester 10k. Running is a fantastic way to keep fit and has also been shown to benefit mental health.

Why choose running

We as humans are designed to be mobile and running is something we learn at an early age. Running is a cheap and effective form of exercise. You don’t need to spend £3000 on a bike, nor £1000 on ski equipment. A suitable supportive pair of trainers will suffice. Running is also a very social activity where like-minded people can join groups, clubs or just run with friends.

Photo by Andrea Leopardi on Unsplash

Where to start

Unfortunately, life can get in the way or we lose our confidence and going our for a run turns into a terrifying thought.Luckily there are many different ways to start your running journey. If you’re nervous and feel you need a support system then finding a running club is a great idea. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend in a similar position, then that would provide that support and camaraderie which is always needed at the start of a new experience. A sensible starting point would be to make a running schedule and more importantly sticking to it.

The fear of running outside is a sticking point for some people. So either going early in the morning or getting to a quiet park is a a good way to build your confidence. It is always important to track your progress, whether that is distance or times. This is something beginners should not get bogged down with. As fitness levels improve and confidence builds that is the time to start using an app or logging times and distances.

A well known app which is a really good way to start is couch to 5k by the NHS. This program will run you through a week by week schedule which will tell you exactly how far, when to run, when to walk and what days would be a sensible approach.

Photo by Ben Stern on Unsplash

5 more benefits running and exercise

  • Running improves your mood – studies have shown that the body releases hormones known as endocannabinoids after exercise. This can lift your mood and has been shown to be an effective way to combat depression. It has also been shown that running can help with sleep quality, concentration and mood.
  • Running helps manage weight – It is not just during the run where you burn caories, but even when you have stopped. This is called EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption). It has been suggested that 45 mins of exercise will boost your metabolism for the next 14 hours.
  • Running will make you live longer – research has shown that running 5x per week for 30mins can keep you alive for an extended period. Smokers added a staggering 2.5 years onto their lives, whereas non-smokers gained 3 years.
  • Running can help regulate your blood pressure – various research papers have concluded that aerobic exercise can be highly effective when regulating blood pressure
  • Running will keep joints healthy – When running regularly, the muscles around the knees, ankles, low back and hips will strengthen. This will take pressure off the joints as the surrounding muscles will be much more efficient.

Things to watch out for

Modern life can become a burden on our bodies. Work often means sitting in front of our desks all day and then going home to sit in front of the TV all evening. Over a period of years leads to: tightened hips, weakened back muscles, increased weight, higher blood pressure and can also lead to some forms of cancer. There are some simple changes we can make straight away which will keep your body moving.