Get off the sofa and jog to fitness

RESIDENTS are being urged to put on their running shoes as part of a Northumberland healthy living drive.

NHS North of Tyne is backing the Couch to 5K plan designed to get people off the sofa and gradually build up to running 5K or for half-an-hour in just nine weeks.

The beginners’ running programme was developed by novice runner Josh Clark to help his mum get fitter.

It involves three runs per week, with a day of rest in between, and a different plan for each of the nine weeks.

There is a mix of running and walking to begin with, making the challenge feel achievable from day one.

Public Health Consultant Dr Dawn Scott said that going out for a run on a regular basis will help people to lose weight, especially if it is combined with a healthy diet.

“The benefits of getting into running can be endless,” she said.

“It’s an easy way of improving your physical health and running regularly will improve your cardiovascular function, making your heart and lungs healthier.

“Doing exercise like running is good for you and it gives you a chance to take time out of your busy life – quality time that is free and available to us all.”

Studies have shown that running regularly can be a great stress reliever and also help to combat depression.

If you have any concerns about beginning an exercise regime such as Couch to 5K, make an appointment to see your GP and discuss it with them first.

A week-by-week description of the programme is available at www.nhs.uk in the Live Well section.