Running is one of my favorite ways to get fit. It can become quite addictive as you strive to improve your times and if you stick at it you’ll find yourself looking forward to your jog. Its main benefit is to the heart and lungs which will do you the world of good but your lower body will get a tremendous work out as well. A good pair of trainers and some comfortable clothes is all you will need.
There are a number of reasons why you might want to take up running. For a start it burns up a lot of calories. About 600 calories an hour seems average but if your overweight then you may burn considerably more as your having to work harder. You will notice that you feel refreshed and positive after a run and less stressed.
You should seek expert advice before starting any strenuous exercise. The main thing is to start of slowly in order to give your body time to adapt and if you have not exercised in some time it is a good idea to do a few weeks of hiking or walking. See my article on walking for fitness and weight loss. Then you can try some short bursts of jogging in your walk such as 2 minutes running and 5 minutes of walking. Try to increase the duration of the running whilst reducing the walking time. You will experience rapid gains at this stage and it wont be long before you are able to run for several miles.
Its best to mix up your running routine by running different courses and different distances. This will keep things interesting mentally and offer you a different challenge. When running try to keep your neck and shoulders relaxed and keep your torso straight and upright whilst engaging your stomach muscles. Try to land the feet gracefully not stomping. Most people will land on the heel and roll onto the toe and push off. Other runners will land more on the middle of the foot which may allow you to run more efficiently. Remember to stay nice and relaxed as you will achieve greater speed with less effort.
Remember to stretch out thoroughly after every run or you will lose flexibility and suffer very saw stiff muscles. You will most likely suffer some form of injury when you start running especially if you rush in to quickly. You should seek expert advice on injuries and stop training. Some common problems are shin splints, bad knees or sore hips. Good trainers will help and you can go to a good sports shop for advice when buying trainers. You should not run with shin splints as you can develop a stress fracture and should wait for them to heal.
As with walking I recommend that you perform a couple of sessions a week of resistance training. This will give you a more rounded development and will help with your running as you will have more strength.