With no immediate end in sight to lockdown restrictions, we’ll all need to find new ways to stay fit and active.

So rather than becoming frustrated by being cooped up indoors, why not take to the streets and join all those walkers and runners for some fresh air and extra cardio?

If that’s not enough incentive, here are 5 great reasons to start a lockdown running routine

READ MORE: Comrades champ Gerda Steyn shares her lockdown training tips

1. You’ll lose weight and burn fat

Running is one of the most effective forms of exercise for losing weight. That’s because it’s a high impact weight-bearing activity.

While many people will tell you that this makes running risky in terms of injury, if you’re strong and supple (and injury-free), the impact and the resultant high intensity is actually beneficial.

That’s because the relative effort required to run means you’ll burn more calories per minute than just about any other activity.

READ MORE: Get your children interested in running with these helpful tips

2. You don’t need much to run

All you need to participate is a good pair of running shoes and your normal workout gear – there’s no expensive equipment or monthly contracts required! You don’t have to be a member of a running club to join in.

3. There are many, many health benefits

Running also improves your health by strengthening your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. That means a healthier heart, better circulation and more efficient lungs. It also boosts your immune system.

READ MORE: Become a better runner without more running

4. Your brain benefits, too

Research shows that running can improve your brain function in a number of ways. One of the major benefits is that it improves brain plasticity – its ability to change.

This happens as new connections (neurons) are made between cells in various important areas of the brain. Aerobic exercise in general also promotes the creation of new brain cells. This improves important functions such as memory, and movement and cognitive function (your ability to think and reason).

5. You’ll smile more

And not just because you’ve broken free from the lockdown confines of your home. Running releases endorphins – those ‘feel-good’ hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. This is what leads to the famed (but often elusive) “runner’s high”.

This effect is associated with a drop in stress hormone levels, which helps to improve mood and combat depression and stress.

READ MORE: Up your running game with help from these nifty apps

Getting started

Download your FREE couch-to-5km training plan. The program is safe and effective – we’ve taken care of all the planning and programming to ensure you reach your goal. Try it out. Who knows, maybe you’ll be ready for your first race when life gets back to normal!