In association with Matfen Hall
Particularly running - when it comes to maintaining good mental health. Here’s her guide to getting started
Running is a great way to start getting active, especially as it’s a great outlet for stress, tension and frustration. With the fast-paced lifestyles so many of us live these days, running offers a great way to clear the mind.
It can also serve as a great mood raiser. You’ll have heard people talk about the ‘runner’s high’, and they weren’t joking! It comes thanks to the endorphins released during cardio exercise.
The good news is, developing a regular running routine is easier than you think.
So, as you begin to see more and more people out, about and training for the wonderful Great North Run, don’t think for one minute that you couldn’t be among them this time next year.
Trust me, no matter what your level of fitness, you can become a runner and learn to love it.
Being comfortable while running is one of the most important things to get sorted. First up, make sure you’ve got a good pair of running shoes, which provide adequate cushioning and support to protect your back and lower limbs from injury. Women should also invest in a good sports bra.
Go slow and steady
A common mistake when starting a running programme is trying to do too much too soon.
Personal trainer at Aqua Vitae and triathlete, Ian Walton says the key is to go slow and steady, giving your body time to adapt.
He says: ‘Start with walking, then jogging. The more you do it, the shorter the walking will be and the longer the running will be.
‘You also need to be aware of your technique. The key is listening to your body to find its own natural rhythm by keeping your breathing steady and natural, movements fluid, stay relaxed and be aware of tensing your shoulders.’
The first few times you get out there, you’ll probably feel a bit of discomfort. But don’t let that discourage you; running gets easier as your fitness levels improve.
Research shows it takes 30 days to form a habit, so get your diary out and plan in your runs for your first month. Come up with a realistic routine and write it down – take my word for it, it’ll help you keep to it.
Giving yourself a challenge is also a great way to keep you on track, so register for a fun run or a race. There are so many now – 5K, 10K, half marathons… you’ll be surprised at how much you can achieve.
But it’s not just about pounding the streets and getting in the miles; building variety you’re your routine is really important.
At Aqua Vitae we have a running club on a Thursday, I found my running really improved as Ian introduced us to new techniques. He made us hit the hills to build strength and introduced us to intervals, which are a great way to boost your fitness and burn extra calories.