If you're looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle, you should start by increasing your physical activity by adding walking or running. But you need to be careful before you take that first step.
Many runners fall victim to excessive running when they first start out. An important tip to keep in mind? Don't run more than your body can handle. Instead, increase your activity gradually.
"I am starting out slow, very slow. I walk a little bit and then I jog a little bit," Shirley Gortmaker said.
You can walk or run almost anywhere and it's convenient because all it requires is a good pair of shoes. Gortmaker has walked three marathons, Now she's ready to add running to her daily routine.
"And then in a couple of weeks, maybe do 30 minutes and just increase it slowly and get stamina built up so that's what I am going to be doing with the running is increasing it slowly," Gortmaker said.
Health experts recommend increasing your mileage per week so you can maintain a healthy progression of activity.
"It's recommended to increase your mileage weekly by no more than 10 percent. And also important to incorporate some cross training to add variety and to reduce boredom and also take pressure off those joints to reduce the risk of injuries," Sanford Wellness Manager Amy Pugliese said.
Alternating your workout routines can increase your results without stressing your body.
"Biking, water jogging, water walking, elliptical; all those low-weight barring activities are wonderful," Pugliese said.
Pugliese adds that the American College of Sport Medicine recommends 150 minutes of cardio activity every week.
"Whether that's breaking it down five days a week, 30 minutes a day. Or even breaking down the 30 minutes into three 10 minutes bouts a day is beneficial for your health," Pugliese said.
A benefit which Gortmaker has turned into a habit.
"It's an addiction. I mean you see all these other people out there and it's like, 'Wow. If they can do it, I can do it type thing.' You don't have to be 120 pounds. You don't have to be 20 years old; anyone can do it," Gortmaker said.
Other tips to keep in mind to help you be successful while you're building your mileage: invest in a good pair of running shoes, join a running group to keep yourself accountable and set achievable goals.