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Ready, set, run!

Toni-Ann DiSantis

Ready, set, run! Start your spring training now. (via CLEVELANDCLINICWELLNESS.COM)

Does contemplating a running routine make you want to…run the other way? Do you sometimes wonder if the runners gliding past you on the street just might be a different species? You’re not alone. But running is not, in fact, for the chosen few—and spring is the perfect time to start a routine. You don’t have to be an athlete or a ‘natural runner’ to run for exercise.  Most people can do it. The reasons to consider running abound: it offers an excellent, efficient cardio workout, works your legs and core, has mood and memory benefits, and can even slow down the aging process. It’s also free, after you’ve equipped yourself with a comfortable pair of running shoes. If you’ve been sedentary or have a chronic illness, talk with doctor about whether running is right for you. (And needless to say, don’t start if you’re injured). For beginners, easing into running with a run-walk interval routine such as the following: warm up with a few minutes of walking and then alternate jogging for 45 seconds and walking for 90 seconds, for eight rounds. If that’s too challenging, adjust the intervals accordingly. Each week, slightly increase the amount of running time while decreasing the amount of walking time. For beginners, running two or three days per week with at least one recovery day between running days. Registering for a 5K race (about 3.1 miles) a few months out can offer extra motivation. Before you know it, you’ll be one of those people gliding down the street…a runner!