So, we reached out to the experts at OrthoCarolina to find out the best way to get your body into the routine of running as a total beginner. Here's what Mary Jean McKinnon, a Physical Therapy Assistant at OrthoCarolina Eastover, had to say.
What Are The Health Benefits of Running?
But when you're considering endurance exercise, Mary Jean does have a recommendation for how long you should run, and how many times each week. "Endurance exercise for 40 minutes, three times a week is associated with reductions of blood pressure, body weight, body fat, waist circumference, blood lipids, and insulin sensitivity," Mary Jean said. "This meta- analysis suggests endurance exercise is great for the physique and for improvements in the body’s physiological functions."
What about mental and emotional benefits? You've probably heard of a 'runner's high' before. This boost in mood and energy encourages many people to run on a regular basis. "While the research pertaining to depression has been purported as low quality, the research does suggest that exercise can decrease the symptoms of depression," said Mary Jean. "Honestly, considering the other health benefits, I’d say it’s worth a try."
What Should You Already Have Before You Begin Running?
When it comes to equipment, one of the first things you should consider is how to find the right pair of shoes. Thankfully for you, we've worked with Charlotte Running Co. to spell out the proper process for finding the right running shoes for you, which you can read about here. You should also make sure you've got socks that will prevent chafing.
Next, consider your goals. "Realistic goals are pivotal to success and satisfaction. It is important to progress slowly to prevent injuries early in training. Novice runners do experience injuries more often than experienced runners," said Mary Jean. "If you do get injured, rehabilitate, and become a faster and better runner in the long run. Persistence is key. If you are starting to run, think about the fact that you want to make a long lasting health change to improve physical and emotional health."
And what about your support system? You may not think it's important to have people who are updated regularly on your progress, but having someone to cheer you on when you need motivation can make all the difference in your running journey.
Most importantly, be sure to check in with a medical professional to make sure it's safe for you to start running.
What's The Ideal Running Regimen For A Beginner?
Her suggested weekly or longer progression as you move forward:
- Walking 4 minutes / Running 1 minute
- Walking 3 minutes / Running 2 minutes
- Walking 2 minutes / Running 3 minutes
- Walking 1 minute / Running 4 minutes
Mary Jean recommends that you start out with a 20-30 minute routine with the goal of exercising for slightly over 30 minutes to get the best cardiovascular benefit.