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Zero to Hero: Get Started on a Running Habit

Even if you’ve never been active, haven’t exercised in years, or simply want to start a healthy habit, running will do you wonders. Running is a great way to get fit, get your heart pumping, and even give you that much-needed alone time. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and you’re ready to hit the finish line.

Why run?

Running has tons of benefits proven by studies over the years and decades. It’s one of the oldest forms of athletic activity, and it requires zero equipment. Aside from the benefit

You can take as little—or as much time as you need.

According to the American College of Cardiology, running even just a few minutes a day (whether at high speed or at low speed) may significantly lessen your death from cardiovascular diseases compared to someone who doesn’t. Even if you only have time for a fifteen-minute run, you can still reap benefits.

It strengthens your bones.

Running is known to increase endurance, but it also makes your bones stronger by guarding against osteoporosis. In fact, a study performed at the University of Missouri in the US found that running was the most effective in building spine strength compared to cycling and weightlifting, because the whole skeletal system participates in the exercises, making it stronger overall.

It preserves brain function.

Running and other cardio activities improves your brain’s function, because your body becomes more efficient at pumping blood into the different muscles and organs. In fact, according to the American Academy of Neurology, running when you’re a young adult improves and preserves your brain function in middle age.

Start now.

  1. Head to athletic store and ask for help when finding a shoe that fits your feet, your stride, and your needs. Get a shoe that provides good arch support and is light enough that you can eventually run in them.

  2. If you’re under 30, have engaged in physical activity, and are within a healthy weight range for your height, you might be able to run and go. However, if it’s been a while since you’ve last gotten exercise, start out by even just walking briskly for 20 to 30 minutes thrice a week.

  3. When you’ve established a habit, start out by walking for two minutes and then jogging slowly for a minute. Alternate until you’ve built up to at least 20 minutes. Every time you run, shorten your walking periods gradually until you can run straight for 20 minutes. Don’t shock your muscles to avoid fatigue—check out these websites for running programs for beginners:

  4. Join a fun run! Sign up with friends, or even alone to challenge yourself. Start with a 3k or a 5k run, and no matter how slow (or fast) you go, you’ll feel so accomplished when you cross the finish line. Next thing you know, you’ll be running a marathon!

Trisha Bautista is a freelance writer, food and product stylist, social media manager, and violin teacher. She was formerly editorial assistant and social media editor for Women’s Health Philippines, and the assistant lifestyle editor and social media editor for Cosmopolitan Philippines. She enjoys discovering easy recipe hacks, working out by herself and trying out DIY workout programs, traveling outdoors, and enjoying wine and whiskey.