get off the couch

Global Running Day Follow-up: Get Off the Couch

As we noted, Wednesday was Global Running Day. With the weekend here, we found a UK approach to turn that day into action and help potential runners get off the couch.

The Global Running Day site states: “Global Running Day is a worldwide celebration of running that encourages everyone to get moving. It doesn’t matter how fast you run or how far you go—what’s important is that you take part, and how you do it is up to you. Run a lap around your block, take your dog for a long walk, or call your friends for a pick-up game in the park. The important thing is that you have fun being active—and you inspire others to join you.”

The movement offers well-run workplace wellness programs a chance to inspire and engage members in fitness — either implementing an improved routine or maintaining current activities. The UK’s NHS offers additional inspiration with a program they call “Couch to 5K.”

It states: “Couch to 5K is a running plan for absolute beginners. It was developed by a new runner, Josh Clark, who wanted to help his fifty-something mum get off the couch and start running, too.
The plan involves 3 runs a week, with a day of rest inbetween, and a different schedule for each of the 9 weeks.”

The program designers realize a significant challenge for individuals and leaders of workplace wellness programs — Getting started: “Probably the biggest challenge a new runner faces is not knowing how or where to start. Often when trying to get into exercise, we can overdo it, feel defeated and give up when we’re just getting started.”

The NHS also outlines benefits of running (and being active generally):

  • “It’s an easy way of improving your physical health.”
  • “Running regularly will improve the health of your heart and lungs. It can also help you lose weight, especially if combined with a healthy diet.”
  • “There’s evidence it may help increase bone density in some people, which can help protect against bone diseases like osteoporosis.”
  • “There are also mental benefits of running. Taking on the challenge of Couch to 5K can help boost your confidence and self-belief, as you prove to yourself that you can set yourself a target and achieve a goal”.
  • “Running regularly can also be a great stress reliever and has even been shown to combat depression.”

The NHS provides a video that features Laura, who “hated sports at school” and explains how the program works: