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30 Convincing Reasons to Start Running Now

What promises a healthier body, a sunnier outlook, and the perfect opportunity to catch up? This is no infomercial. Running is one of the best butt-kicking, calorie-blasting workouts around. Still not convinced? Here are 30 reasons to hit the ground running.

1. Do it anywhere.
Run, that is. Whether on the treadmill or in the park, it’s easy to rack up miles. Even better: Lace up your sneakers on your next vacation to explore a new place.

2. Make new friends.
Tired of meeting duds at the bar? Check out local running groups or websites like Meetup and hit the road with other health-minded folks. Twenty questions is just as good during a run (boozy brunches afterward are optional).

3. Save some cash.
Forget fancy equipment or a pricey gym membership. When it comes to running, all you need is the right footwear.


25 Runners Share the Biggest Mistakes They Made as Beginners READ 
4. Visit the doctor less.
Apples aren't the only things that keep the doctor away. Active people are less likely to develop colon cancer. And ladies, women who regularly engage in intense workouts like running can reduce their risk of breast cancer by up to 30 percent.

5. Eat more carbs.
Here's an excuse to slurp up more spaghetti: During intense training (like preparing for a race), increasing carb intake can help your performance and boost your mood during harder runs. 

6. Keep it interesting.
Forget boring laps around a track. Interval training helps boost metabolism and rev cardiovascular fitness. Bonus: Research shows people who do intervals have more fun while running (really!) and might be more likely to keep it up. 

7. Live longer.
Not only do runners have fewer disabilities and remain active longer than their sedentary counterparts, but they actually live longer too. And even as weekly running times decrease with age, the healthy benefits keep on ticking. 

8. Get primal.
Turns out Bruce Springsteen was right: We were born to run. Running turned us from apes to humans and was used by our ancestors to elude prey.

9. Feel the burn.
For a 160-pound person, running can burn more than 850 calories an hour.

10. Bring sexy back.
Not only does having a rockin’ runner’s bod boost confidence in bed, but regular exercise can also help flexibility between the sheets—and get you in the mood more often.

11. Boost memory.
Exercise has been shown to help keep the mind sharp. Hitting the track might also reduce symptoms of dementia and protect the brain against Alzheimer’s, even for those with a family history of it.

12. See the sunny side.
Active folks see the glass as half full, even after they're done sweating. 

13. Get a natural glow.
Believe it or not, working up a sweat can rid your pores of the gunk that clogs them and leads to breakouts.  A solid sweat session can also boost natural oils, keeping things fresh and healthy. (Just remember to remove makeup preworkout and wash gently afterward to avoid breakouts.)

14. Improve self-esteem.
Need another excuse to go green? Runners who ran outside and snagged a good view of nature showed increased self-esteem post-workout than those who had only unpleasant scenes to gaze at. Ahem, dreadmill.

15. Stay steady.
Older runners keep their balance better than nonrunners, protecting their knees and tendons in the process. Be careful not to overdo it, though: Too much exercise can lead to stress injuries and bone loss.

16. Turn down the pressure.
Running is a natural way to keep high blood pressure at bay—and fast. Amping up workouts can help lower blood pressure in just a few weeks. 

17. Build stronger bones.
Resistance training is awesome, but word on the street is running might help produce even stronger bones than cranking out reps. Running helps build the muscle that lower-impact workouts ignore, keeping bones healthier even as they age.

18. Get an energy boost.
Feeling sluggish? Try going for a jog instead of lounging on the couch. Just one run can increase energy and decrease fatigue. 

19. Take your furry friends.
Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason, and they can be man’s best workout buddy too. Grab a leash and give your pet a new kind of treat.

20. Strengthen that core.
A strong core improves posture, strengthens limbs, and helps make everyday activities a breeze. And whether you feel it or not, running engages your midsection, strengthening those all-important muscles. Bonus: A solid core can improve performance. 

21. Sleep better.
Runners tend to adapt to set sleeping routines in order to keep performance high. Even better: Running encourages higher quality sleep, which translates into better zzzs all night long. 

22. Do it year-round.
You can rack up the miles no matter what the weatherman says (just dress appropriately!). Temperatures still not just right? Jazz up the ol’ treadmill run to get the same health benefits indoors.

23. Jam out to speed up.
Pop in headphones when running to increase speed and get a little energy boost. We won’t even judge your playlist.

24. Check off those goals
Studies suggest people who set and meet (or exceed) long-term fitness goals (like signing up for a half-marathon!) are more committed and satisfied with their exercise routines than those who trudge along aimlessly.  Who doesn’t feel good about crossing items off their bucket list?

25. Show your heart some loving.
People who run for just an hour a week can reduce their risk of heart disease by almost half compared to nonrunners.  And for those already hitting the recommended physical activity guidelines (that's 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week), an extra spurt of exercise can lower your risk of heart disease even more. (Just be mindful not to overdo it and cause more damage than good.)

26. Run stress away.
Ready to pull your hair out? Instead of tuning in to a brainless reality TV marathon, try running an actual marathon. Not only does running boost the brain’s serotonin levels, regular exercise might actually remodel the brain, making it calmer and more stress resistant. 

27. Be one with nature.
Want to feel the grass tickle your toes? Try minimalist sneakers or nothing at all. Just be sure to ease into this type of running to avoid injuries.

28. Increase stamina.
Running regularly will improve stamina, making workouts more enjoyable and productive. And let’s not forget that lasting longer isn’t restricted to the track—it’s useful in, uh, other areas as well.

29. Get there faster.
Instead of a leisurely evening stroll, try a jog around the neighborhood instead. It’ll burn more calories in the same amount of time.

30. Sound like a pro.
Get in the know with our list of running lingo. Ready, set, run!

How to be a better Runner

Think you've got the hang of running? Run farther and faster with tips from our experts

Here’s something you already know: running is a simple sport. In the early stages, there’s little more to it than putting on a pair of trainers and running for as long as your legs will carry you. But at some point you’ll want to get faster, run farther and feel fitter. Regular runners ask our panel of running coaches and performance experts to spill the beans on how to go up a gear.

What sort of exercise should I do between training programs?

George Anderson, running coach at runningbygeorge.com says:

‘If you’ve just completed a focal race and have a few weeks before your next training programme starts, you’ve got a great opportunity to plug some of the gaps in your fitness. If you’re lacking speed, do shorter, faster sessions because these will make a big difference to your pace. If a lack of strength is your problem, hit the hills and work on conditioning your body for tougher terrain. If you lose posture and form towards the end of a run work on core strength in the gym and do running drills to improve your technique.

How do I forefoot run? I’ve read that elite runners do it and it’s better for avoiding injury.

Dr Mick Wilkinson, sport, exercise and rehabilitation scientist, says:

‘You don’t. Elite runners tend to forefoot strike because they’re running so fast and adopt the landing pattern to deal with the forces resulting from their speed. Barefoot runners also tend to adopt a forefoot or midfoot strike when running on a hard surface, as it allows a gentle absorption of their body weight and is therefore more comfortable than running with a heel-strike pattern. However, get a barefoot runner to train at a moderate pace on a softer surface and they often heel strike. As you run your brain will select the most appropriate footfall for the surface and speed you’re training on.’

I want to improve my running ability. How far should I run each week?

Mike Trees, elite running coach and Newton Running advisor, says:

‘I would recommend 30-50 miles per week for non-elite runners but it depends on your age and your sports background. What we need to do in our teens is different from what we need to do in our 40s or 50s. If you’re an ex-swimmer who has trained in the pool at a high level for over 10 years, I wouldn’t recommend you do much long, slow running because your aerobic system will already be highly developed. I would, however, advocate hill training and running drills to build up the necessary running muscles.

Should I lift weights to improve my running?

Dr Mick Wilkinson, sport, exercise and rehabilitation scientist, says:

‘This largely depends on your current running skill and experience. If you’re a beginner or fair-weather runner, first learn how to control your own body weight when doing running-specific drills (such as high-knees) before adding any additional load.

‘Many experienced runners don’t have the skill or single-leg strength to control the force of steady running. My advice is to work on plyometric bodyweight work by perfecting basic alternate-leg skipping with a rhythm of around 180 skips per minute. When you can do this, progress to single-leg jumps and don’t even consider adding additional load with weights. Very few traditional weight-lifting exercises have any relevance to running and offer minimal benefits.’

When and what should I eat before racing?

Mike Trees, elite running coach, says:

‘I’ve noticed that older athletes need longer to digest food before racing or hard interval running. So, I suggest that veteran runners leave at least four hours between eating and running. Comparatively, some teenagers can eat up to two hours before racing. The trick is to experiment in training and less important races to find your optimum time.

‘I always suggest eating simple sugars on race day to ensure that your bowels are not full of fat and fibre. For me, a bowl of cornflakes eaten six hours before I run, or toast and jam, is sufficient. Whatever food you choose, all you usually need to eat on race day is 600 calories because your body will struggle to digest more. But it’s important to eat the right things the day before a race. Ensure you consume carbohydrate foods and any other important nutrition the day before.’

Keep on running!

Do you love running? Are you the queen of the 5K and maybe even the 10K too?

After all, if you can run 5K or 10K successfully, what’s to say you can’t tackle a longer distance with the right training? And with

so many exciting races on the running calendar this year, there’s a lot for runners to look forward to, whatever your level. 

‘Obstacle races are continuing to grow in popularity. They are appealing to a new audience as well as seasoned runners, because of their stop-start nature, and focus on fun and teamwork. Ultras are also popular, as more marathon runners are realising that going “beyond” may well be possible,’ says running coach George Anderson (runningbygeorge.com). 

But you have to be mentally prepared for the distance, too. So we’ve put together our solutions to common distance running issues to get you in the zone.

Problem 1: Boredom 

Training can be tough, but the right music will psyche you up for your run, giving you the motivation you need to slip on your trainers and head out the door. ‘Running the same route every time can get a bit tedious. If you get bored when you’re on a long run, plug yourself into an upbeat playlist, run with a friend, or just pick a brand new route each time,’ suggests George. 

Problem 2: Lack of motivation

Variety is the spice of life, so if you’re running the same training course or wearing the same gear each session no wonder you’re not excited to run! Regularly varying your routes for a change of scenery and splashing out on new gear will inspire you to get outside. ‘Having your “why” firmly at the front of your mind when you are training for a particular event can also keep your motivation high. In between races, try running without a watch. “Freedom Runs” are a great way to reconnect with your running and remind you of the reason you fell in love with the sport in the first place,’ says George. 

Problem 3: Injury niggles

From shin splints to knee pain, injuries are often part and parcel of a runner’s life, but strengthening your weak spots can work as an effective preventative measure. ‘Injuries are the bane of the runner’s life. Avoid unnecessary niggles by investing in a regular strength and conditioning routine. Single leg squats, spine mobilisers and hip bridges will all help bulletproof your body,’ George says. 

Problem 4: Bad weather

While in Britain we’re all used to wind, rain and sun, the unpredictable weather can be a massive hurdle for runners. When the weather isn’t playing ball it can be tempting to skip a training session, but keeping your end goal in mind will help you to maintain focus. ‘A bit of wet and cold shouldn’t mean a cancelled session, but if the weather isn’t up to scratch, take your workout indoors. While treadmills aren’t the best way to train for a race, they can be extremely handy when you can’t get out onto the roads because of miserable weather conditions,’ says George. 

Problem 5: Too tired

Training is tiring. Fact. And when your body can’t handle another training session you’re at a higher risk of injury. If you haven’t slept, feel light-headed or weak, it’s your brain’s way of communicating that your body is not up for it that day. But don’t beat yourself up – just remember that allowing your body adequate rest will improve your overall performance in the long run. 

Problem 6: No time

It’s not always easy to fit in those all-important sessions. Put exercise high on your priority list and block out time in your diary at the beginning of the week so you schedule other events around your training. And don’t worry if you don’t have time to run every day. ‘Training for a 10K, half or full marathon immediately conjures up ideas of long hours spent trudging the roads several times a week. This can be enough to put some runners off before they even start, but if you focus on quality rather than quantity, including just three runs a week, you will still get great results. This makes it a much more practical programme, and reduces the chances of over-training and injuries,’ says George. 

Problem 7: Performance plateau

Can’t seem to go that extra mile or shave those vital seconds off your current PB? Consistency and commitment is the key to powering up your performance. And making sure you continually push yourself hard will help you take your running game to the next level. ‘Training your body through threshold workouts can be really effective,’ says George. ‘Holding your pace at a point where the intensity becomes “comfortably uncomfortable” for increasingly longer periods of time through a programme can have an incredible impact on your fitness. Your body becomes better adapted to dealing with lactic acid, making faster running feel easier,’ George adds. 

Get snap happy with the latest way to get your coconut fix

Rock that bikini with pride this summer with these deliciously healthy foods. 

Yo've booked your beach break and bought a new two-piece, but the fear of stripping off has got you panicked. Sound familiar? Then now is the perfect time to kick-start a summer eating plan so you look and feel amazing in time for take-off. 

This ancient South American grain packs a healthy protein punch, making it an excellent slimming aid. Super-versatile, it can be used to bulk out soups and stews and used in place of your usual carb choice. 

Looking for a fruit that works overtime for your health? Cherries are rich in the antioxidant anthocyanins, which increase fat-fighting enzymes. Plus, these little beauties could maximise workout results by warding off post-exercise muscle pain. 

Want to wage war on wobles? Stock up on salmon when hunger hits. This oily fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which keep skin cells plump, whilst keeping you full - curbing the the urge to snack.

Wonderful for adding flavour to food, garlic helps the liver to filter out toxins in the body. These pungent cloves are also packed with a molecule called allicin, which helps keep your immune system healthy, reducing the risk of summer sniffles. 

Packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, avocados help your body manufacture a compound called glutathione, which is needed to detoxify harmful substances. Plus, the good fat content will help to keep summer skin looking its best while filling you up - so you snack less! 

Nothing says summer quite like a fresh punnet of strawberries, and the good news is that this British seasonal staple is actually a slimming food. They rank low on the glycaemic index, which means they help to control the blood sugar fluctuations responsible for food cravings. Plus, they're a powerhouse of skin-perfecting vitamin C.

Cheap and versatile, eggs are a fab source of appetite-curbing protein, making them a dieter's best bud. A 2008 study published in the International Journal of Obesity reported that eating eggs for brekkie helps to boost weight loss for those following a calorie-controlled diet. 

Lemons are like a magic wand for weight loss. They're detoxifying and help to promote proper digestion, which keeps bloating at bay. If they're not already part of your morning routine, you're missing a trick. Sipping on a mug of hot water and lemon filters away any impurities in your system, boosts the metabolism and keeps your cells hydrated so your skin glows. 

Make dark green vegetables like broccoli a priority on your plate and the weight will fall off! Why? This green superfood helps your body to flush out everyday environmental chemicals due to its rich sulphur-containing compounds. Steam your veg instead of boiling to keep the nutrient content intact. 

Raw nuts act like a wake-up call for weight loss. Brazil nuts, almonds and cashews are all loaded with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which help to speed up the slimming process to get you in swimwear-worthy shape.

Get snap happy with the latest way to get your coconut fix

If you’re not already a coconut oil fan, these clever sachets from Jax Coco are sure to do the trick.

Containing one of the purest extra virgin coconut oils in the world – and produced in less than two hours after the coconut is dehusked – the beneficial oil in Jax Coco Snaps (£8.99 for 24 sachets) is extracted with a state-of-the-art centrifugal system to retain more of its health-giving nutrients.

Perfect for life on the go, simply grab a single-serving size snap and add to a smoothie, your morning coffee, afternoon tea or evening hot choc. If you’re heading off for an impromptu night out after work, a little coconut oil will tame frizzy hair and give it a brilliant shine. Or, swept across your cheekbones, will bring out the natural pigment in your complexion.

We love! 

Find out more at Jax Coco
Stock up on sachets at Honestly Healthy Food



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