Words by Claire Chamberlain

  1. Snack Attack – Did you know, a 30minute run burns on average the same number of kilojoules found in a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk? So as long as you’ve been for your morning run, you can indulge (occasionally!) guilt-free.
  2. Beat the Blues – It’s proven that exercise is the best way to ward off mild depression, with “green exercise” (combining exercise with being outdoors), top of the list when it comes to getting a mental boost. Research states that when people take part in green exercise, they feel less stressed, more alert and happier, and with running known to provide a “runners’ high”, there’s no better way to pick yourself up.
  3. Save time – Running is one of the quickest ways to to burn kilojoules. It takes just 30 minutes to burn approximately 1255 kilojoules, but you’d have to walk briskly for an hour, do aerobics for 40 minutes, or cycle for 45 minutes to burn the same amount.
  4. Save Money – Whoever said the best things in life are free was obviously a runner. Aside from a good pair of trainers and a sports bra, you don’t need to invest in any costly kit to get started. Now wave goodbye to those gym fees and head to the park!
  5. Save the environment – Running is one of the greenest ways to travel, so next time you make a short trip, ditch the car in favour of your trainers. The planet will thank you.
  6. Be part of the gang – Is the prospect of punding the pavement alone leaving you feeling less that keen? Encourage a friend to come with you!
  7. Make some me-time – We all lead hectic lives that can often revolve around others. Making running a regular part of your routine gives you space to simply be yourself, alone with your thoughts minus those daily distractions.
  8. Challenge yourself – About 90 per cent of our clients tell us they can’t run, says New You Boot Camp life coach, Jacqui Cleaver. “But when they give it a go, they all can.” So give it a try! Who knows what you’ll achieve if you put your mind to it?
  9. Extend your life – According to a study published in the Archive of Internal Medicine, people who run for 30 minutes five times a week live 3.5 to 7.5 years longer than non-runners. So you really can run for your life!
  10. Boost your brainpower – According to studies, an increase According to studies, an increase in fitness can improve your memory, concentration and ability to process information. Who knew you could train your brain and body at the same time?
  11. Get Back to nature – If you’re a treadmill runner, why not hit the great outdoors instead? Runnign in the elements is good for your soul. Leave the iPod at home, too, and get in touch with your environment.
  12. Be a role model – Since you’ve started running, friends are probably in awe?of your achievements. So why not encourage them to get in on the act? Knowing you’ve inspired them to get fit is sure to give you a warm glow.
  13. Look younger – Forget miracle creams and scary needles! Running is proven to boost your circulation resulting in radiant skin, and improve muscle tone, giving your body a youthful appearance.
  14. Get Cheered on – How many times in your life do people cheer your name as you head past? Unless you’re a celebrity, we’re guessing it’s not a regular occurrence. But if you’re a runner, it can happen as often as you want! Simply sign up to a race, drag your friends and family along, and soak up those cheers as if you were an A-lister! And did we mention you can also…
  15. Win a medal – If you never won at sports day (or even if you did and want to relive your glory days), now’s your time! Whether you come first or 101st, you’re guaranteed a shiny medal, which you can keep forever as a reminder of your achievement.
  16. Strengthen your bones – You might be surprised to hear running is good for your bones. “Moderate running has demonstrated increases in bone density, and also improves bone mineral content in the legs and spine,” says Simon Fairthorne, physiotherapist at Bupa’s Centre of Sports Medicine Excellence, in London. “This is important, as bone density decreases after the age of 40, most significantly in post-menopausal women.”
  17. Love your lunch break – Heading for a run is a great way to get away from your desk at lunchtime. Just make sure you have access to a shower before you return to the office, or failing that, stock up on wipes!
  18. An outdoor run – is a great way to top up on vitamin D. Even running on a cold but sunny day will give your body a much needed boost – just 20 minutes in the sun twice a week, exposing your face, hands and arms will help maintain your vitamin D levels.
  19. Be Altruistic – Fundraising for charity is great training motivation, with the added bonus of knowing you’re helping others. “Support from our event participants enables us to continue our vital work,” says Charlotte Eastop, events fundraiser at Help the Hospices. “We have places in a variety of runs, so there’s something for everyone.”
  20. Enjoy your carbs – The more you run, the more you need to top up your carbohydrate intake, which converts to vital, muscle-fuelling glycogen. More pasta, anyone?
  21. Get new gear – Shopaholic? Then running is for you! While all you really need to start running is a sports bra and trainers, who doesn’t like accessorising now and then? Running gives you a fabulous reason to splash the cash on tops, tights and gadgets. And if you look like a runner you’ll feel like a runner!
  22. Have a eureka moment – If there’s something on your mind, it’s amazing how a long run can give you the time you need away froma difficult situation to help you find a solution.
  23. Make your heart happy – Cardiovascular exercise, such as running, is one of the best ways to strengthen your heart. “Running raises your heart rate, giving your heart an effective workout and improving your circulation” says Bupa’s Simon Fairthorne. “It can also reduce your risk of heart attacks, angina, high blood pressure and strokes.”
  24. On-the-go meditation – Running is the perfect way to clear your head and unwind.  In fact, it offers much the same benefits as meditation. Simply focus on your breathing or the rhythm of your footsteps and you’ll soon feel at peace.
  25. Get a literary fix – Don’t have time to settle down with a good book? Then download your favourite audiobook and listen to the spoken word instead of music while you run. This has the added bonus that you could end up running further to find out what happens next!