Article provided by NHS Choices
For Christine, a 37-year-old mum of two from Warwick, the biggest advantage of Couch to 5K is the mental release it gives her. "Running gives me a boost for the day," she says.
"I'm much more inclined to get out there and keep going, and I'm less likely to sit down and laze about or have a cake. When I can't get out to run I get grumpy! It does help de-stress me. It calms me down and I can just switch off."
However, Christine admits that it took some courage to take the first step. "As a child, I hated running and anything like school cross country, so it actually took me a few weeks to build up the courage to leave the house and get started. Knowing I only had to run 60 seconds to start with made me think: 'OK, I can do that'.
"I was self-conscious too, I didn't know if I was running correctly, and then there was the paranoia that I'd be going so slowly that people would be laughing at me. That's why I chose to start it in January. I put a woolly hat on and pulled it right down so no one would know who it was. Now I feel proud - I don't care! People wave at me and it's quite encouraging."
Christine has also noticed the physical benefits to running. "I've definitely noticed an improvement in my fitness - even just running after the kids on their bikes in the park. I can run after them now, rather than telling them to slow down and wait for mummy! There's also just a general sense of wellbeing, I don't feel lethargic."
Christine is continuing to motivate herself to keep running now that she's graduated from the Couch to 5K plan. "I've signed up for Race for Life, so that now the plan is finished I've got something to keep training for. And when it comes down to it, I'm really enjoying it."
'I lost weight with C25K'
Stewart, 40, has never been sporty, but was inspired to take up running after seeing the success his wife Christine had achieved.
More than anything, Stewart was motivated by his desire to lose weight. "I turned 40 at the end of November last year, and at 15� stone (Stewart is 5'10), I wasn't in good shape at all," he explains. "I decided in January of this year that I had six months to lose weight before we went on holiday."
Stewart started by dieting and using a cross trainer at home. After he'd started to lose weight, he then began Couch to 5K. Speaking in his final week of the programme, Stewart explains how Couch to 5K worked for him. "I get bored very easily, but this worked because it didn't take up too much of my time - it's only 30 minutes start to finish. It also helped that it's a very fixed programme - you knew exactly what you needed to do and there were the podcasts to support it."
Stewart's success speaks for itself. "I've lost a stone and a half since I started dieting and running, and I just feel so much better and fitter. Just general fitness levels - like walking up the stairs at work. I'm looking to start the 10K programme as soon as I finish the Couch to 5K, and there are also a couple of 10K races that I'd really like to have a go at."
Tackling Couch to 5K at the same time as wife Christine helped Stewart stay the distance. "It helped that we were both on a health kick at the same time - we could discuss what the issues were, which weeks were good, which were bad, and what to look out for."
Article provided by NHS Choices
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