RUNNING is our favorite sport, providing health benefits to millions of people who have practiced it.
Some seven million of us now take to the streets at least once a fortnight.
That’s five million more than in 2010, and around 50,000 runners will be in the London Marathon in two weeks.
British Heart Foundation research has shown that any amount of jogging, regardless of distance or speed, can reduce the risk of premature death from heart and circulatory problems by 30%, and by 27%, whatever the cause.
It can also mean a 23% reduction in the risk of premature death from all types of cancer.
Adam Byrne, clinical fitness manager for Nuffield Health, said: “The heart beats between 60 and 70 times per minute as it pumps oxygen and blood throughout the body. This is your resting heart rate.
“When you run, your heart becomes more efficient and your cardiovascular endurance increases, reducing that resting heart rate to 50 bpm, which is healthy.
“Running for half an hour a day, five days a week, has huge benefits for your heart.”
Over five million people have downloaded the NHS Couch to 5k app and #running has an incredible 13.6 billion views on TikTok.
Adam said, “Running strengthens bones and delays aging, protecting against issues like brittle bones.”
“It’s also good for maintaining a healthy weight.
Adam explained, “A 30-minute run can burn up to 500 calories. The higher your heart rate, the more calories you burn.
OUR JANE TESTS A 28-DAY JOG PLAN
OUR Features Editor Jane Atkinson ran for at least 30 minutes a day for 28 days.
She had a full health assessment from Bupa before and after the challenge. Dr Samantha Wild, GP and Clinical Manager for Women’s Health at Bupa Health Clinics, analyzed Jane’s results.
She said: “Although we expected some to take longer than 28 days, many of his markers of physical health have improved, for example his (good) HDL cholesterol has increased.
“His lean muscle weight went from 51 kg (74.8% of total weight) to 54.6 kg (78.9% of total weight) and his blood sugar went from 34 mmol/mol to 31 mmol/mol, the ideal range being 18 to 41 which is excellent.
“She gained 2.5% body fat, but this could be due to a lack of rest days, which are important in any exercise program, and therefore her stress hormone cortisol increased.
“We produce this if we are busy, stressed or over exercising and it contributes to weight gain.
“There may also have been a change in diet or hydration. We always recommend adding strength and resistance exercises.
Six weeks after the challenge ended, Jane went back to running twice a week and mixing it with yoga and weights.
She said: “I love running again. I lost the weight I had gained. Running has become exhausting and boring.
“I didn’t like putting my sneakers on. Now I like it again mixing up my exercises.
From Adam Byrne, Clinical Fitness Manager for Nuffield Health
- BUY GOOD TRAINERS: Get your shoes from a specialty store. There the staff can analyze how you run and give you the right trainers to protect you from shin splints and knee and ankle damage.
- TRACK YOUR PROGRESS: Smartphones, apps and watches are perfect for runners. Download an app like Strava to measure distance and pace.
- BE SURE TO STRETCH: Your quads, hamstrings, calves and psoas muscles (which run from the bottom of the spine to the pelvis) need stretching before and after a run, for 30-60 seconds per muscle.
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