I started running seven years ago when I was 39. After a physical in Singapore my doctor told me that I was very fit but had very high cholesterol and also needed to lose some weight.
I started on a regime of 30-45 minutes of running and exercise five days a week, and, in two months, I had lost nine kg and also lowered my cholesterol levels significantly.
We moved to Chicago the next year, and nine months after my 40th birthday, from running two-three miles a day a few days a week, I decided to run the Chicago marathon!
I bought myself a book, shoes, shorts et al, told my friends and colleagues, and then there was no way out. My daughters who were eight and six then, had already run their first 5km ‘race’, and Fauja Singh at 94 finished the London Marathon in April 2004 with a very creditable timing to boot. There was inspiration at both ends of the age spectrum. Seeing a one-legged runner with prosthetics at the start-up for the Rio marathon was another tremendous demonstration of human will.
Over the last few years I have heard stories from people or read several articles on people who have benefited, some seemingly miraculously, from running—long-term weight loss, lowered cholesterol, less fatigue, controlled blood sugar, mental alertness, discipline, shaping up, enhanced confidence and above all, an “I can do it" feeling.
All of us have had occasion to run in our lives, some fun—while in school playing games, and some not so fun— running for that bus that never stopped, or running from a stray dog.
In India most of us love to walk, whether young and old, sometimes even the very old— some actually go for a jog or a run. This is what I have seen when I have been running in different parts of Delhi, Bangalore and Gurgaon over the last few years.
So what’s stopping you?
A few tips
Decide that you owe this to yourself and have to start right away
Keep your running gear next to your bed at night
Tell people about your first outing .
Set yourself a goal
To run 100m within your morning walk without getting breathless
To run a round of the Lodhi Gardens non-stop
To have a fun outing with physical exercise with the whole family once in three months in a different location
To run a specific distance the next time
Or to better the time in the next run
To lose 5kg of weight, and so on
You’ll be surprised at how you can motivate others and how they can motivate you, and how your own follow-up on the progress of your goal can be self-motivating.
How to start
You probably walk quite often, which is great. All you need to do is try and put in 10 seconds of a jog in the middle of your walk, and when you’ve regained your breath, go for another 10-15 seconds and you will realize you’re on your way to achieving something. If you don’t walk yet, start walking and get some friends to do the same so you can chat and catch up with them while you do your physical exercise and in a few short weeks you’ll discover what enormous benefits one can get from the simple act of walking a little faster and converting it to a jog.
Over the next few weeks we’ll cover topics relating to issues of running in India, running outfits, running areas, avoiding injuries and managing them if they occur, motivation, training for 5km, 10km and longer runs, some great running websites, running in the heat and in the cold, and many other areas to take you on a journey you will never regret starting.
Rahul S. Verghese is director, Global Consumer Insights, Motorola