Updated 18 February 2015

Running - the best choice?

If you've recently taken up running, you've made a good choice. Here's why.


So you are seriously considering the option of running as your primary sport. Here are 10 reasons why people who are runners think you’re making an excellent choice.

1. Running is one of the most efficient paths to cardiovascular fitness. Because running is a high intensity form of exercise, it gives your heart “a good workout”, which means that your fitness can improve relatively quickly if you train diligently and sensibly.

2. Running is so accessible. All you really need is a good pair of running shoes and a safe place to run. This is particularly useful if you travel extensively or have a hectic lifestyle.

3. Running can be inexpensive and is simple to learn. Running shoes are the most expensive essential item, but aside from that, all you really need is comfortable clothing and possibly a stopwatch. Everyone knows how to run, and information on training is widely available.

4. Running is one of the most effective methods of stress reduction and anxiety control. Negative stress can be a killer and can lead to depression, which is predicted to be the most common global illness by 2020. Thirty minutes of running will work wonders in terms of stress management.

5. Running is an excellent component of a weight-management programme. Few activities burn as many calories per hour. As one becomes better trained, one’s body taps more readily into fat stores for energy.

6. Running is a very flexible method of training. You can run at your own pace, wherever it is safe, with or without company, at whatever time of day that suits you – as long as it is light!

7. Running makes you feel good and an ever-growing body of research proves this. Your fitness, self-esteem, confidence and positive mood states all will increase with a regular running programme.

8. Running offers a unique opportunity for recreational runners to mix with world-class athletes. You can't play in a PGA golf tournament, at Wimbledon or for a Super 12 Rugby side, but on almost every weekend, recreational runners compete in the same events with elite athletes. However, there are also low-key social events that emphasise fun and friendship, so don’t be daunted by the experts!

9. Running is for anyone. You don’t have to be slim, young or athletic, as you will see if you carefully assess the field of any road race.

10. You'll be in good company. Millions of people run for health, fun, fitness and competition – they can’t all be wrong!

- (Kathleen McQuaide, Sports Scientist, updated August 2012)

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