For our Non-runners: Tips for going from the Couch to Running Every Day.

Yes, the couch is a comfortable place, and you may even have sunk-in cushions and a mini-fridge within reach to validate just how easy it is to kick back and enjoy your entertainment center, surfing the web, or even reading your favorite book. In case you’ve forgotten, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to all sorts of health-related issues, such as excessive weight-gain that may cause other physical problems to arise as a result.

If you’re simply unmotivated or perhaps complacent with your surroundings, taking a second look at the current situation and performing a self-evaluation may only take a few minutes, but you really should to be honest with yourself. If you like where you’re at, both physically and mentally, congratulations! If not, making a few changes may be in order, and remember, the couch will always be there when you’re finished.

If you’ve thought about running but haven’t mustered the will or inspiration to do so, you’re not alone; truth be told, we don’t even like to use the word running because it isn’t that exactly. It’s called jogging, and there is a difference between the two.

The difference between running a full-tilt 100 yard dash and jogging around the block is clear, and that’s where it starts: jogging around the block at your own pace. If you’re not winded by that time, you can always jog back in the same direction from which you came until you do get tired. The point here is that jogging doesn’t have to be a gruelingly disciplined exercise, while starting slowly and building your endurance levels can eventually change the way you think about your health.

Even though starting out slowly is a great way to approach this form of exercise, you will eventually need to push yourself a little harder. For starters, jogging three days per week for 20 to 30 minutes per session is highly recommended, and it’s also a good idea to have a hand-held device to track your progress. This may take a few weeks or more to get comfortable with; in this case, the only thing you’ll be exercising is your patience, and it won’t leave you gasping for air.

We’ve also found that one of the best motivators of all is to have a jogging companion, where having a friendly competition going on can help to increase performance levels and a side-wager or two can really make things interesting.

If you don’t feel like leaving the house on any given day, investing in a treadmill has also been known to work well for many joggers who prefer to mix the two. Either way, taking it slow and steady thru the first phase will often help to build your stamina and strengthen lung function as well.

Finding a pair of comfortable, but durable athletic shoes is also a good idea. And yes, the extra activity may be a little exhausting at first, yet pushing forward should be well-worth the initial struggle.