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Ways to transition from walking to running

Did you always think that running is NOT for you? Do you not know where to start to get from a fast walk to a jog and then to a run?

If you are starting an exercise regime, you will be excited to see your progress as this is the most important factor to motivate you. However, it is important to take things one step at a time and listen to your body.

First of all, you will need to boost your endurance and develop a cardiovascular basis by walking at least 3 to 5 times a week for 30 minutes at a fast pace. In this way, you will start building your strength. Every day that you actually get out there, you are building your stamina. Your body is getting stronger and you are creating a stronger base for yourself.

The next step is to start inserting short jogs into your walk. You can run at an easy pace for just 30 seconds, then walk for 2 to 3 minutes. Then slowly, you can gradually start increasing the length of each jogging interval, always listening to your body.

Running is a great form of exercise and outpaces so many other types of exercise, delivering a host of benefits. It is also so much fun! But sometimes, running may seem more difficult than it need be. The good news is that these obstacles can be overcome and running can become that much easier with a few simple tips for you.

Get a good night's sleep. Your body needs its rest and you will feel stronger and will perform better when you are well rested. Sleep is the body’s natural defence and repair mechanism, and if you do not get enough sleep, your body will not have the time to do the necessary repairs and so you may feel more pain and discomfort.

Take deep belly breaths. Oxygen is the essential motor for your body and taking deep breaths will ensure that you have more oxygen in your blood. If you take shallow breaths from the upper chest, less oxygen will arrive to your muscles. The more oxygen circulates in your blood, the less your muscles will fatigue.

Learn belly breathing: lie on your back facing upwards with one hand on your navel. Take a deep breath in and expand your belly, pulling more air down into the lower part of your lungs. You will feel your hand rising as your belly expands. As you exhale, contract your belly and push the air out so your hand falls. Practice this either lying down or sitting down a few times a day, taking at least 10 breaths each time. Then practise it while you run. If you start breathing hard or panting during your run or notice your shoulders and chest are going up and down, then that means that you are breathing through your chest rather than through your belly. Slow down to a walk, catch your breath, and concentrate once again on your breathing to get the technique right. This is key to make each subsequent run easier for you.

Slow down. Are you out of breath, or have a stitch in your side? Slow down to a walk and get your breath back. Then you can slowly increase your pace as soon as you feel better. It is normal to have muscle and even joint pains at the beginning as long as this does not last for more than a day or two. If the pain does not subside in a few days, do get it checked out.

Get into a rhythm. Music is a great way to get into the rhythm and motivate you to run faster, harder and longer. Choose YOUR favourite upbeat tunes, stick those headphones on and watch your energy rise.

To help you out, here’s the 100 best running songs for you to choose from. Start off with tunes with a slower beat to warm up, then move on to the higher energy tunes for the core of your run, then finish off with a slower, more mellow tune to cool down. Also do remember to keep one bud out of your ear if you are running outside to make sure that you are alert to your surroundings.

Some final tips to help you on your road to running:

- Start slow. This one seems obvious and basic, but it’s key.

- Ignore peer pressure. When running in a group, don't get tempted to keep up with the faster ones as you will burn yourself out. And if you just want to do a few km a week, don’t be shamed by others who may have different targets – we are all unique and you don’t need to run a marathon to keep fit.

- Vary your workout: pick scenic routes, change your routes often, run at different paces and vary workout times. This will keep you from getting bored and will also help you find your rhythm, find the best time for your body clock, and the best pace for you.

- If it’s too cold or wet to run outside, running up and down stairs is a great way to build leg strength.

- Find a buddy to exercise with so that you can motivate each other. Even better, join a running club in your vicinity – there are many great clubs around Malta and Gozo who can also coach and mentor you.

Happy walking and running!

Before any changes in physical activity, we strongly recommend a visit to your medical practitioner. Additionally, we recommend annual medical and blood screening to ensure that you can maintain your quality of life.

Clinipath Medical Laboratories can provide your organisation with a Company Health Program that can gauge the function of major organs and can identify some risks at an early stage. This will ensure that your employee’s health is safeguarded, and if needs be monitored regularly.

If you would like information contact us today on +356 21221355, 9985 2404 or send an email on for more information.

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