There are many reasons why running is one of the most popular forms of aerobic exercise. Aside from the shoes, it is relatively inexpensive. It good weather, it gives you a chance to enjoy the outdoors, but in bad weather, it can be done indoors. Running can also burn significantly more calories than other aerobic activities. Since it is a weight-bearing exercise, it may also prevent osteoporosis. While all of this sounds exciting, if you are new to aerobic exercise or running specifically, it is crucial that you start with a progressive training plan.

Your first step is to go to a reputable running apparel store and purchase the best running shoes you can afford. Try to find a knowledgeable sales person who will have insight as to the best type of shoes for your particular feet. Women should also wear a supportive sports bra. If you are over 40 and have been inactive, check with your doctor before embarking on a running program.

The next thing you will want to check is your postural alignment. Think about it. Your car performs better when the wheels are properly aligned. The same thing happens with the human body. Improper alignment causes muscular stress which will waste a considerable amount of energy. Proper alignment releases the flow of energy and allows for muscular efficiency. As a result, energy is preserved, and caloric expenditure is maximized.

As you run, try to imaging a string on top of your head that pulls you straight up towards the clouds. You should feel as if there is a straight line from the top of the head to the base of the spine. Your knees should point straight ahead, as if they were headlights of a car. To avoid injury, stay light on your feet. Imagine you are running on egg shells. Tight shoulders can restrict proper breathing. Imagine that your shoulders are like ice cubes melting down your waist. Speaking of breathing, using a rhythmic breathing pattern throughout your run can help you gain endurance and avoid side stitches. Breathe in for two counts through your nose, and out for two counts through your mouth.

While most sports medicine experts believe that 20 minutes is the minimal amount of time needed for significant aerobic benefits, don’t expect to be able to run for a full 20 minutes when you first begin. At first, you may probably be able to walk for 15 minutes, and run for only five. Another option is to alternate running and walking intervals. Gradually build up to running for a full 20 minutes. If possible, avoid running on concrete.

As you progress, there are a number of ways to add challenge to your running workout. You can experiment with adding one-minute speed intervals. For beautiful muscular definition in your gluteals, add hill runs. You can even try running in the pool to alleviate stress on your knees.