Running is the most common way used by people to begin an exercise program or improve their fitness (and manage their weight). And done correctly it can certainly have these benefits - IF you avoid the potential issues.
The worst method would be to begin running with no base and little background exercise especially with no core, trunk or lower body strength and little flexibility. This is compounded if you start with say 3-4 times per week of runs over 30 minutes (with no warm up or cool down) done in old shoes with worn support and reduced cushioning. The last ingredient in this recipe to get injury is ignoring niggles, pain or messages from your body – and making no modifications.
So let’s look at some tips for beginning a program.
A common adage I use when consulting on designing an exercise program is;
“Get fit to Run - Do not run to get fit “
This is because of the impacts and risk that running incurs on the structure-especially if you are older and carrying a few extra kilograms. Running creates an impact force of over 5 times the body’s weight on every stride-calculated over a short 15-20 minute run this is a substantial load.
The best beginners program is one that includes a Run:Walk combination. The popular app “Couch to 5km” is a variation of this method. Follow the times in the table for suggested combinations:
Beginner = no running for past 3 months of 1-2 runs per week. Consistently
Intermediate = Consistently running for 1 month or more