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adidas
adidas / March 2020
Emily Lemon

CARDIO FOR BEGINNERS: 8 TIPS TO GET STARTED WITH CARDIO EXERCISES

Have you been thinking about whether running might be something for you? If you’re ready to do some cardio exercises to improve your health, running is a great way to do it.​ We’ve put together 8 useful tips to help you pace yourself and avoid doing too much, too fast.

1. START WITH SHORT JOGS

So, you’re excited to start your cardio training, but you’re wondering how to go about it? We’ve broken it down into a few steps to show you how easy it can be.

  1. Step one: As a newbie, don’t plan on running the entire stretch in one go. Start with short jogs ​(e.g., 15-20 mins) ​around your block or neighbourhood. ​If you’ve got a dog​, you can also try a light jog when you’re out for a walk with your furry friend.

  2. Step two: Try adding different paces to give your body a break in between. Don’t be ashamed to walk​ if you feel the need.

  3. Step three: After you’ve started to adjust, you can lengthen the time and distance you run and shorten the walking periods. ​You can start by ​alternating between two minutes of jogging and two minutes of walking. When that feels easy, you can extend the running stretches by one minute per workout until you can run the entire distance without having to walk.

Helpful tip: Leave your expectations at home. Run the first few sessions naturally and listen to your body. If you push yourself too hard, you risk losing your motivation.


2. ​TAKE IT EASY AT THE START

First, you have to get used to the new strains of running. A lot of people make the mistake of starting out too fast and end up paying for it within a few minutes.​ ​This often leads to frustration, ​pain, and even injury​. So, start running at an easy pace (i.e., where you can hold a conversation). Even if you feel like speeding up, maintain the same pace for the entire distance. Your body is facing some new challenges. Taking it slowly is key if you want to stick with it.


3. TAKE THE TIME TO RECOVER

Your first run went well, and ​you’re already thinking about the next one​? Excellent!

But you should wait a day before the next cardio workout: your body needs to rest so it can recover from the first running session. You have to adapt to the new demands on the ​cardiovascular system​ and ​give your muscles and bones time to prepare​ for the next run. Schedule your training so you ​always have a rest day following a running day​. This simple training plan can help beginners ​get started without the risk of injuries​.

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It’s common to feel stiff and sore when you’re adapting to a new running routine. Stretching before you run​ gets you warmed up and ready to go. Stretching afterwards helps with recovery by returning your muscles to their normal length. Take the time to stretch; this way you’ll be eager to lace up and head out after your recovery day.


4. STAY LOOSE AND TAKE SHORT STEPS

Give yourself time to find a comfortable running technique that suits you. ​Your body learns how to move as a runner​ with every kilometre or mile that you run. Try to stay relaxed and ​maintain good form​. Short, easy steps are more effective than long strides that slow you down every time your foot hits the ground.


5. CHOOSE THE RIGHT SURFACE

Many people who start with cardio workouts​ wonder ​what kind of surface is best to run on​. ​The answer is: i​t depends on the workout. ​As usual, the best option is to run on different surfaces​.H22569-SS20_BBFT_CONVERT_CH2_SL20_M_ON_MODEL_LIFESTYLE_DETAIL_SHOT_1-612383

Running on pavement is great if you want to run fast – there is very little danger of twisting your ankle. But, it hammers​ your joints because the pavement does not cushion your steps. Trails in a forest or park are soft and ​absorb the shock of your footfall​. Make sure to watch out for roots, rocks and bumps, though. A ​sandy surface is great training for your muscles​ and makes you lift your feet. You’ll really feel this in your calves, so take it easy on sand. If you run on a treadmill, you can train year-round with good cushioning, but you have to shorten your stride because the belt moves beneath your feet.


4. STAY LOOSE AND TAKE SHORT STEPS

Give yourself time to find a comfortable running technique that suits you. ​Your body learns how to move as a runner​ with every kilometre or mile that you run. Try to stay relaxed and ​maintain good form​. Short, easy steps are more effective than long strides that slow you down every time your foot hits the ground.


6. DON’T LET SIDE STITCHES SCARE YOU OFF

Lots of people get ​side stitches when they jog​. ​A good way to prevent them is to avoid eating anything about two hours before your cardio workout and only drink small quantities of water. If​ a side stitch does strike, take a break and walk. ​Breath calmly​ and try to relax as you press on the side that hurts. Start running again slowly only after ​the pain has gone away.


7. RUN WITH YOUR WHOLE BODY

Running is a full-body workout. ​Your arm swing influences both your step length and how many steps you take per minute.​ A strong, healthy, and ​stable core​ helps you run tall and stay light on your feet. ​Remember, r​egular ​strength training improves your running performance​ and prevents injuries.


8. TRY CROSS TRAINING

Variety is great for your heart, and ​if you mix in different types of sports​ as well, you can improve your cardio health without the stress running puts on your joints and spine.​ ​Some examples of great cross-training workouts are:

  • Strength training with weights
  • Yoga
  • Swimming
  • Roller blading
  • Bodyweight training

Plus, cross training keeps things interesting, which then fires up your love of running.

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READY, SET, GO!

As a new runner, we hope you’re excited to start running.​ Remember, take it easy on yourself. Starting to run can open up a whole new world for you to explore. There are bound to be some bumps in the road, but with patience and persistence, your runs will gradually become easier and more fun. Enjoy the journey!

adidas / March 2020
Emily Lemon