How to safely run yourself fit
A Friday night in enjoying a few glasses of wine with an Indian or Chinese takeaway can easily clock up to around 1,600 calories - and that's without what you ate during the rest of the day! So it's useful to know that one of the cheapest, most effective calorie-burning form of exercise (that gets you outside too) is running!
The average runner will run off more than 600 calories in one hour - all you need is some decent running clothes, a good pair of trainers and a positive mental attitude to brave the winter weather! But if you're thinking of running your way into the New Year, don't forget to read these safety tips for running in winter first.
Wear high viz clothing
Be seen or be, well, squashed potentially. As the sun sets before 5.30pm during most of February, it's likely you'll be running in the dark quite often during these months and it's important other road users can see you out of the corner of their eyes to avoid nasty accidents. Although most sports shoes and some running clothing can contain reflective parts, high viz clothing really is a must if you want to be seen to be safe. There are a lot of choices on the market now and not all high viz items are garish yellow! (Try the Ron Hill Windlite jacket which is available in pink).
Don't be a victim
Running alone in the dark brings another potential danger of setting yourself up as a victim to malicious individuals. For that reason, try to run with a buddy, tell someone when and where you are running, vary your routes and avoid deserted areas. Taking a mobile phone and some money is always a good idea too, in case you need to be picked up or take a bus home.
Stay warm and dry
Layering your running clothing is key in winter, as it means you can start fully clothed and take off layers to avoid sweating too much and losing vital body heat. You'll warm up quite quickly, so if you're leaving the house toasty warm, you've probably got too much on - it's best to start off feeling slightly chilly. A long-sleeved running top and running tights topped off with a wind-proof running jacket, hat and gloves make for a good winter running wardrobe.
Go for light-weight, breathable, windproof and waterproof fabrics that wick moisture away from your body. Running gear specialist Brett Bannister from SportsShoes.com says: "Remember, you'll need extra motivation in winter, so getting this right will give you that extra push. The hardest bit is getting yourself outside of your warm and toasty indoor environment, but once you've done it, you'll never come back feeling worse."
Beware of snow and ice
Although running in the snow can be a magical experience, beware of the potential hazards lurking underneath. Opt for fresher, softer snow and avoid anything too hard-packed or icy. While running outside has more mood-boosting value than indoor exercise, you can weather-proof your winter running by investing in a treadmill. You can buy a decent one for around £100 from eBay, so if you have the space this may be a worthy investment!
And for your winter running wardrobe, there are still some great value purchases around. Now you really don't have an excuse not to get running...