The personal trainer on the benefits of running

Pair of trainers

The benefits of running: there are just SO many!

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 10.49.31Ever been tempted to run but haven’t quite made it out of the door? Read on – you might just get going! But if you are a beginner, make sure you look at the advice in the postcript!

Running makes you happier

Running makes your brain release endorphins – the ‘feel good’ chemicals. I know many people who feel positively ‘high’ after a run (myself included).

It gives you a goal to work towards

Each run is a chance to push yourself, to run further, faster. You will be amazed how great it feels to know you have run a bit further or a bit quicker. That sense of achievement is priceless. It doesn’t matter how far or how fast someone else runs, this is about you.

Running can help with depression

Running with someone else can lift your spirits. We also know that the Vitamin D you get from running outside can help with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Running can provide a community

Join a club, run with others, even contact people on social media who run – running helps you to feel connected.

Running gives you time to think

I run to give me time to think, ‘me time’ to get away from it all.

It’s a healthy way to relieve stress

Pound away the stress, think your way clear, wipe away the troubles of the day. Immerse yourself in the moment of the run.

Running helps you to sleep better

Exercise helps you to get good quality sleep. And sleeping will help you get in a good run! It’s a virtuous circle.

Running can encourage you to get up early

You will soon find that running is a great start to your day. Don’t forget… you can’t fail to do what you have already done!

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It keeps your brain sharp

The more you run, the less likely you are to experience mental decline. Exercise can improve cognitive function as you age, including memory.

Running makes you stronger in every way

Running engages your muscles, improves joints and boosts endurance, it reduces risk of disease and increases longevity.

Postscript for those who have never run before…

Pair of trainersPlease buy your running shoes from somewhere that knows what they are talking about. They will analyse your gait and advise accordingly. Yes, it might cost a bit – but it will be worth every penny.

When you are ready to run, you can use a ‘coach to 5k ‘ app on your phone. Or just make your own plan. To start with, just getting to the end of your road will feel like a marathon. Plan a route (Googlemaps or simply drive it and clock it) which is no more than 2 miles. Walk a bit, then run a bit – it really is that simple. Don’t go mad – it’s not a sprint – just run from one telegraph pole to another, then walk the same distance. Do that for 5 running days, then run two telegraph poles and walk. You will soon feel like stretching the distance a bit further.

Be guided by your body – but stretch yourself. In the beginning do an ‘out and back’ run so you are never too far away from home. (Circular routes come later). Always walk the last bit, don’t come to an abrupt halt just outside your front door. You will find that you will gradually run further and walk less. And don’t forget to stretch your legs when you get back. How long this takes depends on your fitness levels at the start. Any doubts, ask your GP first.

About Marion Foreman

I fall neatly into the ‘women who weren’t born yesterday’ category. I grew up in a turmoil of Guardian fuelled feminism. I went from ‘little woman’ to independent person in a decade. I began my nurse training in the early 70s in the midst of a male dominated university town. I convinced myself that my views must be wrong as the ultra clever men didn’t agree with me. It wasn’t until I did my degree with the OU that I realised that I had a voice – and a legitimate voice at that. Four children and three husbands later I have found my place in the world. A place that simply says that I am who I am, that I can choose my own path in life and choose those who walk with me. I have learnt that equality means making and taking opportunities, not feeling compelled to ‘do it all’.