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How to Begin a Running Program

Running will improve your stamina and help you control or reduce your weight. But for safety, efficiency and enjoyment, you’ve got to know how best to get started.

1. Jog before you run. Every running program, no matter what level, includes some jogging.

2. Run at a conversational pace. While jogging, you should be able to talk comfortably without being winded.

3. Mix running with walking, if necessary. Increase the amount of running and decrease the walking as you progress.

4. Be patient. Understand that although the heart and lungs respond quickly to exercise, muscles and joints take much longer.

5. Build up your running to at least 20 to 30 minutes three times a week, done at a moderate level of intensity. Studies have shown that this is a sufficient amount of exercise for basic cardiovascular fitness. Running more than this amount is for reasons beyond basic fitness.

6. Increase your running by no more than 10 percent a week. This can be measured either in time or distance.

7. Use the first month to learn about yourself. Pay close attention to your body; learn to read its signals of fatigue and stress, and find out when you can push beyond them.

Have a physical examination and consult your physician about your basic health and fitness before beginning a running program.

Consult books or magazines for various running schedules.

Find a partner or group. This will strengthen your commitment to a running program.

If you have any condition that would impair or limit your ability to engage in physical activity, please consult a physician before attempting this activity. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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