For some running doesn't come naturally. Here, expert Alicia Gowan's shares ways to introduce running into your fitness regime.

How to introduce running into your workouts

 

If you are anything like me, you don’t break into a run unless zombies are chasing you. So why, other than when escaping the living dead, would you adopt running into your fitness regime?

For starters, according to a landmark study in the American Journal of Cardiology, running has been associated with the significant reduction in heart disease. Every time you run it positively impacts your resting heart rate and therefore reduces the workload on the heart. A stronger heart means greater cardiovascular fitness and gives you the ability to take part in more activities, or simply enjoy ‘playtime’ with our family and friends for a lot longer in life.

Running also helps build stronger bones and joints. Contrary to popular belief, running places stress on the joints, which helps them to grow stronger – similar to the gains reflected in your muscles via resistance training. Combining an effective weights-based programming with some running is therefor a strong strategy to ward off signs of osteoarthritis.

Yes, you guessed it, on top of being a great way to simply ‘get fit’, running also plays a key role in serious fat torching. For the average 55kg person, you will burn a whopping 12.2 cals per min on flat terrain. Now imagine if you push that on a slight slope and mix it up with a little interval-based sprint. You are one lean, mean, fat-burning machine.

If you didn’t already feel like the above was reason enough, well, the runner's high may just be the final drawcard to make you lace up your sneakers and take to the pavement. When you run, your brain pumps out two powerful feel-good chemicals, endorphins and endocannabinoids. These have been found to have the same effect on our brains/mood chemically as that of mood-elevating drugs. So the ‘feel-good’ high that only runners know is actually a very REAL thing.

So, like me, you may now be thinking: let’s prepare for an apocalypse and – should it never happen – we can enjoy all of the above.

 

Here are my five top tips to get you started:

» Get the right pair of shoes: get fitted for the right type of shoe for your feet and step.

» Start slow: don’t be all macho and think you are Steve Monaghetti on your first outing. Start with a realistic and smaller distance and slowly build up.

» Warm up and cool down: start with dynamic warm-up exercises and ALWAYS finish with full body stretching.

» Don’t run often: similar to resistance training, the body needs rest and nutritious fuel to recover. Break up your running sessions over the week accordingly.

» Stay hydrated: drink more water than usual on the days you are running. Being even slightly dehydrated can significantly impact your performance.