Read about the benefits of running and how to get started.


Running is one of best forms of exercise that is accessible to almost anyone.  You don’t need a gym membership, you don’t need to drive anywhere to do your workout and you don’t need to outfit yourself with lots of expensive equipment.  It’s easy to throw on a pair of running shoes, open the door and run.  Here are some tips that might convince you to get started.  


Some of the benefits of running include improved cardiovascular health, endurance and improved lower body strength.  With these improvements (in combination with healthy eating) comes a decrease in your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as well as various gastrointestinal, heart and circulatory problems.  Running will also release endorphins that make you feel happy and exhilarated.  Running can be a social event or a silent, solitary getaway.


What do you need to get started?  First you have to want it: get into the spirit of it.  Dress for the weather: comfortable clothing that does not constrict you or your breathing; pack your water with you and maybe a snack if you will be out for a while.  Most importantly you will need good running shoes.  Shoes should be designed for running, should be well fitted, offer support where you need it and be comfortable.  Take the time when you go shoe shopping to ensure that you are fitted correctly: we have some awesome local establishments that will recommend the best shoes for you.


So you can run for your physical health and mental health; you can run to get somewhere or to enjoy the outdoors; you can run for a cause or you can run just “‘cause you feel like runnin’”...whatever your reasons may be, just get out there and try it!


Now how do you run?  It seems so simple to just bolt out the door, but if you want to avoid injury and get the most of your time out there, you might want to consider the following tips:

  • Warm up and cool down: start and end with a walk or very light jog on a flat terrain until your muscles and joints are warmed up/cooled down.
  • Stretch: you can stretch after your warm up and definitely stretch after your cool down.
  • Running route: plan your route based on your ability and time.  Beginners should choose mostly flat terrain.  Keep safety in mind as well, ensure you are running in a safe environment and somebody close to you knows where you are going.
  • Increase your intensity gradually.  As your endurance and conditioning improve, you can run more hills and build up your pace.  Increase your endurance with intervals: for example, run for 3 minutes and then walk for 2 to 3 minutes...over time you can increase the run time and decrease the walk time.
  • Biomechanics: run tall, with your back straight (not slouched), your shoulders relaxed and your chest out; hold your hands loosely and keep your elbows bent; let your arms move beside you rather than crossing your midline; relax your breathing and keep it regular; don’t pound your foot into the pavement, ensure a smooth heel to toe landing each time.
  • The only way to get good at running is to practice running, but remember that practice does not make perfect...rather perfect practice makes perfect.  Talk to a personal trainer or exercise specialist to ensure you have all the knowledge to get started.  You can also participate in a running clinic where you will get the knowledge and skills as well as meet lots of other people who are enjoying running with you.
  • Don’t over do it.  Over-training can lead to injury and can be discouraging.  Give yourself a few days of rest and recovery and ensure you are eating a diet that will fuel your training regime.

About the Author

Fitness Tips as published weekly in the PG Xpress Fit for lifecolumn

M. Gregor, B.A.

Chief Instructor and Fitness Trainer

Shadow Martial Arts: HapKiDo,

Self Defense and Cross Training

Martial Arts instruction for all ages.

185 Dominion Street. Call: 564-4025