Spring always sees more runners and joggers treading tarmac, could this be the year you’re inspired to join them and get those legs of yours on the road to fitness and heart health? Maybe you were a runner once or maybe you’ve always thought about trying your ‘feet’ at running? Running and jogging provide a great cardiovascular workout, helping you to build fitness, burn calories, shed that spare tyre and boost your mood. It will also help keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels healthy and reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. What’s more, it’s an activity that will easily fit into your busy day and you don’t have to run a marathon to get the benefits. The key is to start small with a gentle jog and pick up the pace and distance gradually.
Running time and place
• Think about where you would like to run, maybe a small circuit around your local park, a nice jog along a nearby canal or river or around your neighbourhood. If your gym session includes the treadmill then use it to train so you can run longer and further rather than just warming up.
• Think about when to best fit a run in your day: early morning, lunchtimes, once home from work or later in the evening are all options so find what works best for you.
• Start with a walk round the block, running for small sections at a time and walking in between – you could use lamp posts as a guide.
• Once you’ve mastered a small loop, you can try doing it twice or adding sections: 100 yards, will soon become a kilometre, then a mile. Try using a phone app to log your progress.
• You don’t need to invest in fancy running gear, just wear what you’re most comfortable in and get a good pair of running shoes that give you support.
• A hand held water bottle will help you keep hydrated, especially when the weather’s warm and you get up a sweat.
• Run with friends to encourage and motivate each another or join a local running club;
• Earphones with a good tempo can help you run faster and longer but keep fully aware of traffic;
• Check out the NHS website and their ‘Couch to 5K’ programme with lots of tips and encouragement to get you running a 5K in nine weeks.
• Use a race as a goal: Heart Research UK has a series of Family 5Ks in cities across the country so you can run or jog with a pram, chase your young ones on their bikes (if they won’t run) or beat your personal best.
Bring out the runner in you, clock up those miles slowly but surely and jog your way on the road to heart health.