Well, I hated sport at school

Well, I hated sport at school

and have avoided exercise
at all costs ever since.

But I realised it had been ten years
since I had done anything

and decided it was time
that I should get fit.

I didn't want to join a gym, I didn't
want to be in an exercise class,

I just wanted to do my own thing,

so I decided that running would be
a good way of getting started.

I knew I needed a bit of structure,
a plan to follow,

that's when I came across Couch to 5K.

I'm going to get running now.

So the great thing
about the Couch to 5K plan

is that it understands
the limitations of a new runner

and builds you up very gradually,

from running for just a minute
alternated with a minute of walking.

That's how week one starts.

And then it builds you up
slowly and gradually

through the nine weeks

until you can run for 30 minutes
non-stop or 5K.

The great thing about the podcasts

is that you have one
for each week of the plan.

You download them and listen to them

on your MP3 player
while you're running.

They tell you when to run,
when to walk, when it's time to stop.

So it's like
having a personal trainer,

but without the cost or the hassle.

So I'd better get back to running.

We all know
that running is good for us.

Personally, I love it

because I feel really energised
and awake when I've been for a run.

I'm off to see Lisa Purcell
from the British Heart Foundation

who's going to tell me
exactly why running is good for us.

Nice to meet you, Lisa.

Tell me a bit about
why running is good for my health.

Running like other activities
can help prevent and manage

a variety of health conditions.

But it can also include things like
better body shape and appearance,

being able to sleep better
and obviously manage your weight.

It can help people feel
less stressed and more relaxed

and also help people feel
that they can concentrate better.

So why is Couch to 5K
a good way of getting into running?

Because it's a gradual build-up,

so people
who aren't doing that much activity

can start building up in terms
of the intensity and the duration.

So why is running
so good for your heart?

Physical activity can halve your risk
of developing coronary heart disease,

regular activity slows down
the narrowing of the arteries

to the heart and the brain
that occurs with age.

And the more activity you do
the stronger your heart becomes,

so it can pump more blood
with each beat.

As long as people start slowly
and build up gradually

they should be fine.

I think one of the biggest benefits
that I've experienced

as a result of finishing Couch to 5K

has been mental as opposed to physical.

I had been so frightened
of exercise for so long,

but I stuck to the plan
and I managed to get to the point

where I'm running 5K three times a week.

And that feels like a real achievement.

I was really embarrassed
when I first started the running,

but now I feel proud,
I feel like a proper runner.

And I think
it's become a habit for life.

I'm going to keep on running.