If you’re new here, you might not know the answer to this question. But those of you that have been reading for awhile know the answer is a resounding YES!
If you can walk, you can run.*
The question you’re really asking, is should you run if you’re overweight. Great question! Here are my guidelines to decide if you should try running as a regular activity:
Are you injury-free?
If you have any injuries at the moment involving your feet, legs or back, check in with your doctor first. It might be as simple as getting some physical therapy before you start to make sure your muscles and joints are ready to go. But if you DO have an injury, there is a possibility that running will make it worse (as could walking, riding a bike, etc). It’s best to know exactly what’s going on before you add a new activity into the mix. So pay a visit to an orthopedic specialist, get that injury sorted out, and get your shoes on!
Are you currently able to walk 3 miles without stopping?
Make sure you are able to easily sustain around 60 minutes of walking (roughly 3 miles or a 5K) before you throw in any running intervals. Running is hard on the body and training yourself to walk for an hour will help get your heart, lungs and muscles ready for the next challenge.
Do you have a safe place to run regularly?
This is pretty important. It doesn’t need to be an expensive gym or a fancy running track, but you do need to have a place where you know you’ll be able to get your run in. A treadmill is usually the easiest option because you don’t have to worry about the weather. Other easy options are your neighborhood – all you have to do is walk out the door and you’re ready to go. Bonus points if you have sidewalks. If you live on a busy street, you might need to drive somewhere more suitable, but that could be as simple as a nearby neighborhood with sidewalks with street parking. Use your imagination. Just make sure you have a primary and secondary location thought out so if one falls through, you know you can get it done elsewhere.
Do you have time in your schedule?
If your calendar is jam-packed from the moment you get up to the moment you go to sleep, and exercise isn’t one of the activities you regularly fit in, you may need to do some serious thinking about how to make the time. Start out by doing 10 minutes, three times a week. This will be much easier to fit in than a longer period and will help you start building a routine.
If you’ve said yes to all of the above, you’re ready to rock-n-roll!
Next step: check out Start Running in the Body You Have Right Now, a 6-week online running course that will get you up and running in the first week.
*Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise plan, especially if you have an injury or other medical condition that could be made worse by running. In general, however, if you’re already walking, feel free to throw in some running intervals to see how it feels. You might be surprised at how easy it is.