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Lifestyle

The Advantages of Jogging for Health, as Outlined by a Running Specialist

ogging may seem straightforward—just one foot in front of the other—but it’s a more nuanced activity than meets the eye. Whether you’re motivated by those marathon videos flooding TikTok or eager to embrace outdoor exercise under the summer sun, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide for you. From highlighting the advantages of regular jogging to recommending essential gear, we’ve got you covered.

There’s no better time than now to embark on your running journey, especially with the improving weather. Not only can it assist in achieving your fitness objectives, but it also presents an opportunity to explore new surroundings while enjoying your favorite music or podcast.

Prioritizing injury prevention is crucial because how your body recuperates is as vital as the run itself. Often associated with ailments like runner’s knee, painful blisters, and shin splints, running can be daunting for beginners. If you’re eager to start jogging regularly, witness results, and stay motivated, we’ve sought advice from Holly Stables, athlete and ASICS Frontrunner UK manager.

She shares her top tips for injury avoidance with IndyBest, along with the health benefits you’ll reap and the most common running errors, whether you prefer the treadmill or the park.

What are the advantages of jogging?

While the benefits of exercise for both physical and mental health are well-established, we asked Stables to elaborate on why jogging specifically is worthwhile.

“Commencing running as a novice offers myriad health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health by fortifying the heart and enhancing circulation. It also enhances lung function, augmenting oxygen intake and respiratory efficiency,” she explains.

You’ll notice improvements in various aspects of your life too. “As novices gradually build their endurance, they’ll experience enhanced stamina and energy levels in their daily pursuits. Running also fosters mental well-being by releasing endorphins, reducing stress, and bolstering confidence post-run,” she adds.

How to begin

For newcomers, Stables recommends a blend of running and walking to gradually build endurance and stamina. “This approach enables the body to adapt to the demands of running while minimizing injury risk,” she notes.

Numerous tools and apps are available to structure your running goals. For instance, the NHS Couch to 5K program is a free app that devises a running plan to help you reach a 5km run in nine weeks. It comprises three 30-minute runs weekly, with celebrity narrators guiding you on when to run, walk, or rest.

If group running appeals to you, consider joining your local Park Run, a volunteer-hosted 5km running club held in 1,258 locations across the UK every Saturday morning. It’s free to participate and takes place in local parks.

How to prevent injuries

It’s surprisingly easy to sustain an injury, particularly if you overexert yourself. “Many beginners are eager to progress rapidly and push themselves too hard, leading to overtraining and increased injury risk,” says Stables. This includes running excessively far, fast, or frequently without allowing ample time for rest and recovery.

“Common running injuries for beginners include shin splints, stemming from overuse or incorrect running techniques, resulting in pain along the front of the lower leg. Runner’s knee, or patellofemoral pain syndrome, is another common issue characterized by pain around or behind the kneecap, often aggravated by downhill running or uneven surfaces,” Stable explains. “Additionally, Achilles tendonitis, involving inflammation of the Achilles tendon, may occur due to sudden increases in running intensity or improper footwear, leading to pain and stiffness at the back of the ankle.”

Her advice includes warming up before each workout, gradually increasing mileage and intensity, and wearing suitable footwear. If you’re in need of new running shoes, check out our roundup of the best running shoes for women and men to help achieve your fitness goals in 2024.

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