I’m really bad at running. Actually, I’m worse than bad. I’m ridiculous.
My version of running may not even be considered running. It’s more of a run/walk/stop/change-my-playlist-17-times kind of thing. On a 30-minute run, I’m probably only running half the time. Passerbys probably get a good laugh.
They can keep laughing though. I’m okay with it. Scientists say my ridiculous running rendition is just as good for my health as the traditional kind of running.
According to a study released Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, folks who run just 30-60 minutes a week—no matter the distance, frequency or pace—receive the same health benefits as those who run more than three hours a week. And the benefits are pretty significant:
• Runners live three years longer than non-runners
• Runners have a 30 percent lower risk of death than non-runners
• Runners have a 45 percent lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke than non-runners
If living three years longer and curbing your risk of dying from a stroke interests you, slip on your running shoes, plug in your headphones and hit these Gallatin trails: (Remember: you don’t have to run fancy, fast, or far. Just have fun!)
Triple Creek Park. This is my go-to park when I’m in the mood for a nice little jaunt. Triple Creek is perfect because its trail begins at the Gallatin Civic Center. I can lift a few weights at the GCC, and then take my cardio outside. Bonus point—Triple Creek Park’s trails are especially suitable for struggling runners like me because its canopy trees and winding paths conveniently conceal my erratic run/walk/stop combination.
The Greenway. The Greenway is an almost 5-mile track that winds through Triple Creek Park, onto East Broadway and down to the Woodson Terrace neighborhood. Soon, it will extend from Wilmore Street into our downtown area.
If 5 miles sounds a bit too ambitious, skip the Triple Creek Greenway portion and instead start at Triple Creek’s entrance. From there you’ll cross the street by way of the underground tunnel and then jog the 1.4 mile stretch from East Broadway to Wilmore. The Greenway is nicely landscaped and wide enough to accommodate walkers, cyclists and other run/walk/stoppers.
Bledsoe State Park. With stunning lake views, and guaranteed Bambi sightings, Bledsoe’s trails are a treat. I will say though, they’re a bit hilly. Feel free to shift to your walking gear while you hike Bledsoe.
For all options, I recommend downloading a guided run app. I use Get Running. It leads me through interval routines that are planned to build my endurance over time. Every time I feel like switching into walk or stop mode, a nice lady with an English accent speaks encouragingly into my ear, “You’re almost there. Don’t stop, just slow down if you need to.” Ah, I digress. If I’ve sold you on the concept of running, but you’re still struggling to get started, keep the aforementioned study’s findings in mind: Any amount of exercise will help improve your overall health—even just 5 to 10 minutes of running a day. You can do it!