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The HFG GET FIT guide

Our new series looks at ways to join the fitness movement. This month, we help you lace up your trainers, ready to run

PART ONE RUNNING

PERHAPS YOU’VE TOYED with having a go but worry you’re too unfit/overweight/ old/tired/busy (delete as appropriate). Maybe you used to run but it’s been a while and you’ve lost your confidence. Maybe you’re thinking about it for the first time. Well, you’re in the right place for some reassurance. Anyone can run – unless you’ve been advised not to by your doctor – it’s just a case of gathering pace slowly and persevering. The biggest challenge facing most people is getting over the mental barriers and believing you can have a go. ‘Running is an inclusive activity,’ says Jenny O’Brien, marketing and campaigns manager for England Athletics. ‘It doesn’t matter about your age, size, fitness or experience. Running changes lives.’

1 WHAT IS RUNNING GOOD FOR?

Most people take it up in the first place to lose weight and shape up – it typically burns 300 calories in 30 minutes. It increases cardiovascular fitness, strengthening the heart, lowering resting heart rate and reducing the risk of heart attack. It develops lean muscle, especially if you’re a beginner, so it boosts metabolism. As a weight-bearing exercise, running increases bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. You’ll benefit from the feelgood, stress-relieving endorphin boost that any aerobic activity induces (run outdoors, close to nature for even greater antidepressant effects). Plus you’ll increase your levels of the bone, immunity and mood-boosting vitamin D, which your body synthesises with exposure to UVB sun rays – but don’t overdo it as too much sun can be harmful (see p15).

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