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Get running with 'Couch to 5k'

Taking up running may seem like a scary prospect, especially if you feel unfit or out of shape, however did you know how beneficial running can be?

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?

Not knowing how or where to start is often the biggest challenge for an absolute beginner runner. It's easy to make excuses to avoid exercise when we simply can't be bothered or if we overdo the first session and feel burnout and defeated we quit at the first hurdle. With 'Couch to 5k' that is not the case. This 9-week programme works because it focuses on gradually building up exercise intensity to increase stamina and fitness at a pace to suit the inactive. 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 the '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 a number of benefits from getting into running from improving your fitness via your heart and lungs, strengthen bones and prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis and if combined with a healthy diet it can help control/lose weight. Alongside physical benefits psychological benefits have also been proven from running. These often include increased confidence, self-belief and higher levels of self-esteem helping to combat depression and lower stress levels.

View this video for some inspiration! - http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/get-running-with-couch-to-5k.aspx

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