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Running: What's the point?

WHY DO WE RUN?


Everyone will have different reasons why they start running. It makes us feel good to keep moving; it feels great to be outdoors; it reduces the risk of diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. It will strengthen muscles and improve your posture. Additionally, if you stick at it, you will increase the calories you burn which can contribute towards weight loss. Like many forms of exercise and activity, running can be very social (runners just love meeting new runners !) which will have a positive impact on your mental health.


IS RUNNING BAD FOR MY JOINTS?


You will have heard - often from non-runners - that running is bad for your joints, and will wreck your knees. We are born to run; it is a natural action for humans, very beneficial, burns many calories and improves heart health.A 20-year study conducted by Professor James Fries of Stanford University in California found that runners from the study (now in their 70s) who run consistently could expect to have less arthritis than non-runners when they get older. It also showed that runners have a lower risk of osteoarthritis and hip replacements. The findings of another study, presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Boston, looked at over 2,600 participants, giving them knee x-rays, assessments and surveys. Researchers concluded that runners had a lower prevalence of knee pain than non-runners, regardless of their age.

Be cautious when starting out. Running may not improve joint health for everyone, and there is some evidence that extreme distance running (marathons and ultra marathons) over a number of years can have a longer-term negative effect. But for the majority of recreational runners, the benefits to health far outweigh the potential risks


CAN I RUN ON A TREADMILL?


Of course you can! In bad weather, a treadmill can be your friend, ensuring you can still fit in your exercise without getting blown away by Storm Eunice. Make sure you set the incline to 1% as this is considered the same resistance level as running outdoors. Treadmills have resistance settings anywhere up to 15%, and using this is a great way to increase calorie burn and build muscle during each treadmill workout.


HOW DO I GET STARTED?


F2 will be relaunching the Intro to Running course in April or May this year. Working with a sports therapist, clients will spend several hours a week in the gym and at home, following a programme of strength and conditioning exercises specially designed for runners, before they put on their running shoes and head outside with a Leader in Running Fitness. The course emphasises the importance of building strength and resilience in order to get the most out of running and - most importantly - reduce the risk of injury.


IS RUNNING EXPENSIVE?


It doesn't need to be. Invest in quality running shoes, and have them properly fitted for you at a sports shop that has a treadmill, enabling you to test them out first. A good sports bra is also essential for women. But apart from that, you don't need expensive kit or equipment.


Most importantly: keep moving and have fun!

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