Running is free and is an easily accessible form of exercise for most people. It burns more calories than many other forms of exercise.

Talk to your GP or physiotherapist before taking up running if you're:

  • recovering from injury
  • worried about an existing condition

Health benefits of running

Jogging or running regularly is a great way to improve your overall physical health. It can:

  • improve heart health
  • improve lung health
  • increase joint strength and stability
  • reduce your risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes

Running is also thought to improve mental wellbeing. It can reduce symptoms of:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • stress
  • mood

Running equipment

Jogging or running involves very little equipment other than a pair of running shoes. It's best to go to a sport or running shop where a specialist can help you choose the right shoes for you.

Running warm ups

Start each run with a gentle 5 minute warm-up. This can include:

  • walking
  • marching on the spot
  • knee lifts
  • side-stepping
  • climbing stairs

How to start running

If you haven't been active for a while, or are just starting out, you may want to begin walking first. Afterwards, slowly build up the pace to running.

Once you can walk at a steady pace for around 30 minutes, include some running intervals for a few minutes at a speed that feels comfortable.

Running clubs

Joining a Jogscotland jog group is a great way to help you start running. It can also help keep you motivated to run regularly.

Most jog groups have different ability and fitness levels. This includes beginners and walking groups, as well as programmes for mums to be and new mums.

Last updated:
28 November 2022

Also on NHS inform

Search for keeping active services