Our Take: A little running takes health far

In the News: (CNN) A group of researchers analyzed 14 previous studies on running and health, concluding that greater participation in running across the population is likely to lead to considerable health improvements. They found that people who ran any distance had a lower risk of death from all causes, including a 30 percent and 23 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, respectively. Click here to read the full CNN story.

Our Take: Bridget Hardy, Wellness Coach and Personal Trainer at Beacon Health & Fitness, not only weighs in on this topic, but she also offers some great advice for getting started.

“This is great affirmation that a little jogging is worth a lot, and that the benefits of running are more accessible than we might have previously believed. The research says that running more doesn’t necessarily offer more health advantages, which could be motivating for folks who previously thought that if they couldn’t go for miles and miles there was no point going at all.

“This news is consistent with other findings that exercising for short periods of time—whether it’s jogging or simply taking the stairs instead of the elevator—is worthwhile. The truth, and it makes perfect sense, is that activity of the briefest duration is always a better choice than no activity. We seem to be finding that running has some impressive advantages in particular, but I would encourage everyone to extrapolate from there.

“Of course, even though this news highlights a small running dose, it can still be intimidating for many of us to think about jogging if we don’t currently do it.”

Here are some tips to get moving:

Find your motivation and conquer logistics. ‘Just Do It’ is no help. If we could all ‘just do it,’ obesity wouldn’t be a national epidemic. Like any project, starting a new physical activity frequently takes some backing up, both physically and mentally. Why do you want to improve your health? What will improved health allow you to do? Taking out your calendar and booking in physical activity appointments is important. It’s good to call in family support, to get good shoes, to make a playlist if that motivates you. Think about it. Plan it. Then, do it.

Start by walking. Most runners were strong walkers first, or strong doers of some other activity. Walking regularly, consistently, and briskly, prepares you to do more. Beginning with 15-minute regular walks and building up to 60 is great.

Gradually mix jogging in with your walking. Jogging 1 minute and walking for 4 in a 15 minute walk is a good way to start.

Make the segments of jogging longer over time. Or not! Holding the mix is a great way to get in some running—and all you may need is some–while rounding out the workout with sustained movement through the walking portions.

Injuries happen most often when people try to progress too rapidly. Recognize and enjoy the each stage of your improvement and don’t hesitate to make one stage longer than others. This reasonable program from Runner’s World offers more specifics: https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/training/beginners/a772727/how-to-start-running-today/

It’s still important to recognize that running isn’t for everyone. As great as this news is, it goes without saying that it’s always important for people to evaluate the appropriateness of any kind of physical activity on an individual basis and with physician input. And if it’s not for you, look at alternatives! Water running in the pool, for example, with or without a floatation belt, has been shown to have similar conditioning benefits to running and is gentler on joints.