Running is one of the best exercises to improve stamina, endurance
and is fantastic for weight management. If you’ve never been a runner before, the
prospect of taking up the sport for the first time can be quite daunting. This is especially
apparent as most people’s experience of running is drawn from their days at school being
instructed to take part in cross country in all types of weather. Click here to see
our 10-week beginners running programme.
However, the good thing about running is that
almost anyone can do it and the health benefits can be reaped by
people of all ages. There are a number of health benefits from taking
part in regular running:
The benefits of running
Calorie Burning - Running is the simplest and most effective
way to burn calories, this helps you lose weight
Body Composition - Regular running helps tone your
Heart – As with any muscles, your heart gets bigger and more
efficient (not to mention more healthy) in response to regular training
Blood Pressure – research shows that your blood pressure will start
to lower within a few weeks of training.
Better Blood Cholesterol - Total levels should drop and the ratio of
good to bad cholesterol (HDL/LDL) improves with regular training.
Bone Density - The impact of running makes your bones more dense and
stronger. This is of particular importance due to the increased risk of
osteoporosis and arthritis as you
Stress – Jogging regularly has shown to positively affect stress
Sleep - Regular exercise can improve sleep habits and reduce
Self-esteem – Evidence shows that confidence
and self-esteem can improve in response to regular running
If you are new to exercise, it is advised that you speak with your GP
before undertaking a running programme.
Research has shown it is more important to stretch at the end of a
run than before. In fact, evidence suggests that stretching at the beginning
offers very few benefits – if you do decide to stretch, ensure your muscles are
When you first start running it is important that you have the right
footwear that a suitable for running. Not everyone's feet are the same and getting
the right kind of footwear will help prevent injury. The easiest way to do this to
go to a specialist running shop. Most specialist running shops will watch you run
and work out which type of shoes are best for you. They may also let you take them
for a test run. A decent pair of trainers should cost no more than £30-£50
You should always be able to hold a conversation throughout the run.
If you can’t, you are going too fast
Try and think about your posture. Pull in your tummy, keeping your
shoulders back and relaxed
The first 5-10 mins of a run can be the toughest until a rhythm is
found. Even if you’re fit, start each run with a couple of minutes of brisk
walking. It’s the ideal warm-up for any runner, regardless of ability.
Listen to your body – if you feel any uncomfortable aches or
pains, stop running and rest or walk for a bit until you feel better
Ensure you keep hydrated by drinking before, during and after your
A common error by runners is running too much, too soon. Ensure that
your gradually increase your runs and have sufficient rest days in between to
enable your muscles to recover
Wear suitable clothing – Don’t wear too much clothing. Make sure you
are warm or cool enough depending on the weather. If it’s dark, wear white or,
high visibility clothing. Avoid cotton.
Some runners prefer running to music, use up-tempo music that will
help you get into your stride.
Local running groups
Some people may prefer to run with a friend or partner. This not only
make the run more enjoyable, but also reduces fears on safety. There may also be a
beginner running groups in your area. There are several national running
organisations that might be able to help you: