Five steps towards a more active and energetic you
4) Run, baby, run
Another physical activity which has undergone somewhat of a revival is good old fashioned running. Immensely popular in the late 1970s and into the ‘80s, running seems to be gaining in popularity again in recent years, perhaps due in part to the fact that it is free and can be done almost anywhere.
Regular running can reduce your risk of developing various physical health conditions, help to keep your weight in check and has even been found to protect against mental ill health. Even better if you have an MP3 player with some feel-good, upbeat music to keep you going, but remember to keep the volume low and only use one earbud so you can stay aware of your surroundings.
NHS Choices has produced a free downloadable 9-week Couch to 5K running programme – designed to help absolute beginners ease themselves into regular running. The plan involves three runs per week, starting with a combination of walking and short bursts of running, designed to gradually increase stamina and fitness in a realistic and achievable way. While five kilometres may sound like a long way, if right now running for the bus leaves you red-faced and out of breath, towards the end of the programme, most people should be able to manage to run the whole distance in around half an hour.
There are even free apps available to provide easy step-by-step instructions on your smartphone, a choice of celebrity trainers to pick from to keep things interesting and some real-life success stories to help to keep you motivated. Developed in association with Public Health England and the BBC’s Get Inspired, the app is available to download for free on iTunes here and Google Play here.
To find out more about the programme, visit Couch to 5K.
If you are currently very inactive, take a look at NHS Choices’ running tips for beginners.
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