More often than not, work and family life take priority over personal fitness goals. So, how do you fit in the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week? You can always try running. It’s a great way to get your whole body moving; you can do it anytime and anywhere for free.
However, we get that running is a tall order if you’re not used to it. How do you start running from nothing?
The first step is to find the motivation to do it. Once it becomes a habit, it gets easier. That’s where these easy tips for beginners to start running come in:
Bring a buddy
A great way to motivate yourself is to hoof it with a friend, significant other, or co-worker. It’s harder to talk yourself out of a run if you’ve already made plans with someone else, especially if those plans involve an inspiring cause like the annual Terry Fox Run.
Held on the third Sunday in September, the event has raised more than $750 million for cancer research since its founding in 1981. Four decades later, more than 650 communities across Canada are taking part this Sept. 19. Terry was a true Canadian hero. Channel your inner Terry and start running.
Just as rookie jugglers should start with beanbags before working their way up to chainsaws, the expression “walk before you run” is a great tip for easing into actual running. The main goal here is to get out there and get moving. Start slow and don’t overdo it, or else you are less likely to want to keep doing it.
Next time you head out for a refreshing 30-minute walk, bust out 1 minute of light running every 5 minutes. That way, you’ll warm up and cool down at the beginning and at the end, boosting your calorie burn from around 150 to more than 180.
Work your way up to alternating 5-minute walks with 5-minute runs; that half-hour routine will burn more than 250 calories. Now THAT’S making the most of your time!
Make sure there’s some healthy fuel in your tank before you walk (or run) out the door. If you’re a morning person, knock back a tall glass of water and chow down on a hearty bowl of oatmeal about 30 to 60 minutes beforehand.
What about coffee? Save it for your post-exercise reward. If you’d rather shake a leg right after work, be sure to refuel beforehand on snacks like nuts, fruit, or these other after-work snacks. Or do it after dinner when you’re fully refuelled, and reward yourself by playing catchup with your PVR.
Stretch it out
Limbering up before you head out will help keep you loose and prevent mid-run cramping. Doing it afterwards will help reduce stiffness the next morning (and not in a fun “morning missile” sort of way). Here’s how to stretch and warm up like a semi-pro with dynamic stretching.
Sport the right shoes
Walking shoes or cross-trainers are fine at first, but running for more than five minutes at a stretch calls for a decent pair of running shoes and a good pair of socks. Goodbye shin splints and blisters, hello head-turning awesomeness! Discount shoe stores sell both for less than $50, all told, which is around the monthly cost of that gym membership you no longer need thanks to your new walking and running routine.
Bonus: reduce your risk of prostate cancer
Moving more, reducing idle sitting time, and sleeping well can help reduce the risk of heart attack, type 2 diabetes, low testosterone, erectile dysfunction, and colon and prostate cancer. In fact, research shows that men who do light exercise for 1 to 3 hours each week have an 86 percent lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer, while guys who kick it up a notch for more than 3 hours each week lowered the risk of fatal prostate cancer by 61 percent.
As UBC urology professor and Canadian Men’s Health Foundation founder Dr. Larry Goldenberg puts it, “If I could offer you one vitamin, or ‘magic pill,’ that you would take four or five times a week to lower your risk of premature death, heart disease, stroke, stress, cancer of the prostate, colon and breast, prostate enlargement and inflammation, diabetes, sleep disorders, osteoporosis, dementia, and depression, would you take it? I bet you would! That ‘magic pill’ is called exercise. The benefits of regular exercise to your overall physical and mental wellness are profound.”
Plus, with September being Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and cooler fall weather being right around the corner, there’s never been a better time to give running a try!
What do you think about running? Is it something you have tried before? Share your experiences in the comments below!