Running (or jogging) has many health benefits. First, it’s a prime example of cardio exercise, which keeps your heart and mind healthy. There’s evidence that it can help keep your bones strong as you age by increasing bone density. Running also allows you to get outside and explore your neighborhood or local trails. There are plenty of great reasons to start a running routine. Whether you’ve never ran for exercise before or want to get back into your routine after a chilly winter, here’s how to get started.
Your body needs time to adjust to new physical activity. Lace up your running shoes (supportive sneakers will do the trick) and start out walking. Begin your workout with a thorough warm-up to ready your muscles for movement. Walk for 10 to 15 minutes, or to your comfort level. Increase the amount of time you walk every day, with at least two rest and stretch days in the week.
Once you can walk continuously for 30 minutes, add in some light running. For example, walk for two minutes and then jog for two minutes for a 10-20 minute workout. Mix up the run/walk ratio to make it more difficult, such as walking for 30 seconds and running for two minutes.
On the run
Once you’ve mastered the walk/run workout routine for about six weeks and are comfortable running more than you were walking, you’ll be ready to start continuously running. Start off with running for five to 10 minutes, and increasing your time by five or so minutes with each workout. Add in walking intervals if you would like as well. You’ll be running for 30 minutes straight before you know it!
Don’t forget a cool down
Always remember to have a cool down and stretching session after each workout. This helps your body recover, which in turn allows muscles to build faster.
As always, consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine. Nutrition is also key in finding success with your running goals. If you want to learn more about how to start a healthy lifestyle on a budget, contact your local Virginia Family Nutrition Program educator to get started!