Top tips to get you running for health
Running is a relatively simple way to get fit and is about as accessible as it gets. Just head out the door, and the streets themselves are your gym. You can even largely ignore the British summer.
And it has some great benefits. While it boosts the production of collagen in skin cells - keeping it firmer as you get older - jogging also builds bone strength, something that can really help keep your standard of life high as you age, warding off conditions such as osteoporosis according to the Huffington Post. And whatever your age, you could likely benefit from taking a more active life.
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But while running really can be as simple as putting on an old tracksuit and slipping into a decent pair of trainers, there are still some things to bear in mind. So if you were fired up by the spring marathon season, how do you best prime yourself for pavement-pounding this summer?
Easy does it
Before hitting the streets in earnest, assess where you are in terms of your fitness. If you are emerging from a period of inactivity, or perhaps recovering from winter flu or other illness, then you'll need to start off fairly easily. Consult your doctor if you have any health concerns before starting a new exercise regime.
A good way to progress is to mostly walk around a route to begin with, then to gradually increase the proportion you jog, until a couple of months in, when you can jog for around 15 minutes at a stretch.
In terms of frequency, three runs a week is a sustainable level, giving yourself a day to rest in between each session. Make sure you take care of yourself - and maximise the benefit of your workout - by warming up and down to reduce the risk of muscle strain or stiffness.
Just put one foot in front of the other?
Running is simple, right? Well, as with any sport, there is a technical element - albeit a fairly minor one. You'll need to think about your stride; try not to overstretch, for example, as this will mean you land heavily on your heel, and will actually slow you up. If you are prone to doing this, try upping your cadence to three steps per second.
Above all, try to remain relaxed when you run. Try leaning forward slightly from the waist - but still 'stand tall' without hunching your shoulders. Keep your head up, and avoid clenching your fists.
You may be lucky and really enjoy your running once you get into it, or you may simply view it as a means to an end. Whichever it is, you can be sure that there are a number of health benefits to jogging which run beyond the simple feeling of wellbeing which you will doubtless experience when you finish a session.
One of the first things you may notice is that, if you are unused to regular exercise, you may well feel less restless and therefore find it easier to sleep - though obviously try to avoid exercising too close to your normal bedtime, otherwise it may have the opposite effect, leaving you feeling wired when you should be winding down.
And while you should be better able to switch off at night, you should also experience an improvement in your ability to concentrate during the day, due to better oxygen and blood flow to the brain, along with an improved ability to cope with stress, and a natural boost in happiness - running stimulates the release of endorphins.
Of course, it's not just these 'mental' factors. One of the main benefits of jogging is the boost to your cardiovascular system. Getting the blood pumping as you run means a lowered risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure - just get out and work up a sweat.
Issued by Sainsbury's Bank
All information is correct at time of print. This may be subject to change. The views expressed in this editorial are those of the writer/blogger/journalist and not of Sainsbury's Bank plc or the Sainsbury's Group of Companies.