If breaking into a jog or sprint is more your thing, JogScotland, which outwith lockdown runs courses and events across the country for runners of all levels, offers tips to get started.

Sue Gyford of JogScotland says the organisation is delighted that so many people are taking advantage of the opportunity to do daily exercise, but stresses the importance of starting gradually.

She said: "It’s important to do it in a way that avoids injury, so if people are taking up running, we’d encourage them to follow a programme that helps them do it gradually and safely. That way you can avoid injury, which means you’ll be able to stick with it for the long term.

"We all look forward to the day that we can share our running with others again, jog groups, clubs, and running events. But in the meantime, it’s a great opportunity for people to put in the initial work to get themselves out, both to kick off a lifelong love of running, and to help us cope with the stresses of this unusual time. Following a programme designed for beginners helps avoid injury, and also means that you’ll see real measurable progress, which really helps with motivation.”

Learning to Run

• Start gradually. If you’ve never run before, or haven’t done it for a long time, even running for ‘just’ 10 minutes will likely be too much. Instead, alternate short intervals of jogging with intervals of walking to catch your breath, and gradually build up.

• Don’t run every day. It’s during the days off that your body rebuilds and repairs and comes back stronger. On the alternate days (and/or if you’re doing more than one form of exercise a day), do something else – take a walk, do some yoga, ride a bike.

• It’s not just your muscles, heart and lungs that need to get stronger gradually, but also your joints. Even if you find you can run for 20 minutes non-stop right away, that doesn’t mean you should – it can be a quick route to injury. Building up gradually and taking rest days gives your ligaments, tendons and joints time to get stronger, too.

• Following a programme designed for beginners is ideal. We’ve made our own Learn to Run programme available free of charge at https://jogscotland.org.uk/joggers/learn-to-run-or-walk-for-fitness/. It progresses at about half the pace of most Couch to 5K programmes, so is particularly suitable for people who’ve been inactive, or who want a gradual introduction. If you prefer an app or podcast, search online for Couch to 5K and you’ll find lots of options.

• Don’t forget to warm up and cool down – ideally a gentle 5 minute walk at the start and end, with some joint mobility exercises before you start, and gentle stretches when you finish - there are videos on the link above that can guide you safely through these. This will help avoid injury and build good habits as your running distance increases.

• If you don’t want to be tied to a programme, you can use the world around you to set wee challenges – alternate walking and running between lamp posts, or try a ‘fartlek’ run – pick an object ahead of you like a bush or a street sign, jog there, and then walk to catch your breath. Then pick another object and go again.

• If running seems like too much, brisk walking can also be a great way to exercise. Rather than sauntering on your daily walk, pick up the pace enough that your breathing speeds up and you feel a little warmer. We also have a Walking for Fitness programme (available on the link above) that builds you up gradually to a point where you can walk briskly for 30 minutes. At that point, you’re in a good place to start a beginner jogging programme, or just to continue walking for exercise.

• Don’t forget that the benefits of being active are not just physical – it can have a great effect on your mental wellbeing too, and that’s especially important at the moment. The change of scene, the endorphins we get from exercise, and the sense you’re progressing towards a goal, are all really uplifting and can reduce levels of stress, anxiety and depression.