Taking up running can seem like a scary prospect, especially if you feel out of shape or unfit.
But did you know that regular running can help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke, boost your mood and keep your weight under control?
The NHS Couch to 5K plan is designed to get you off the couch and gradually work you up to running 5K or for half an hour, in just nine weeks.
What is Couch to 5K?
Couch to 5K is a running plan developed to help absolute beginners get into running. The beginners’ running plan was developed by a novice runner, Josh Clark, who wanted to help his fifty-something mum get off the couch and start running too. The plan involves three runs per week, with a day of rest inbetween, with a different schedule for each of the nine weeks.
How does Couch to 5K work?
Probably the biggest challenge a novice runner faces is not knowing how or where to start. Often when trying to get into exercise, we can overdo it, feel defeated and give up when we’re just getting started. Couch to 5K works because it starts with a mix of running and walking, to gradually build up your fitness and stamina. Week one involves running for just a minute at a time, creating realistic expectations and making the challenge feel achievable right from the start.
Who is Couch to 5K for?
Couch to 5K is for everyone. Whether you’ve never run before, or if you want to get back into being more active, Couch to 5K is a free and easy way of getting fitter and healthier. If you have any health concerns about beginning an exercise regime such as Couch to 5K, make an appointment to see your GP and discuss it with them first.
What are the benefits?
There are plenty of benefits from getting into running. For starters, it’s an easy way of improving your physical health. Running regularly will improve the health of your heart and lungs. It can also help you lose weight, especially if combined with a healthy diet.
There is evidence it may help increase bone density in some people, which can help protect against bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
There are also mental benefits of running. Taking on the challenge of Couch to 5K can help boost your confidence and self-belief, as you prove that you can set yourself a target and achieve a goal. Running regularly can also be a great stress reliever and has even been shown to combat depression.
Download NHS Couch to 5K
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