How to Start Running Today

As for whether all that pavement pounding causes gravity to take its toll, resulting in sagging, wrinkled skin, "it's a myth," says Tom Holland, an exercise physiologist in Darien, Connecticut. "The reason runners can sometimes appear weathered is that they're thinner—low body fat makes fine lines more visible—and they're out in the sun more." Slather on a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 half an hour before your run to avoid the leathery look.

More: How to Stay Hydrated During Runs

Stuff You Need

Shoes: Expect to shell out at least $75 for a good running shoe. Sneakers that don't meet the needs of your foot type and running style can lead to Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis (heel pain), knee pain, and shin splints, says Stephen M. Pribut, D. P. M., clinical assistant professor of surgery at the George Washington University Medical Center.

More: Running and Breathing 101

Smart running shoes? We tested these sneakers to see if the advanced technology is worth all the hype. See our results here!

Sports Bra: According to one study, running can cause your boobs to fly up and down as much as eight inches. (Ouch!) A bra that holds each breast in a separate cup will reduce bounce and support better than a shelf bra. When trying one on, run in place, do jumping jacks, and swing your arms in circles to test how supportive it will be.

Find the best sports bra for your body type.

Get Started

Attention, beginner runner: It's safe--and smart--to start out slow. Really slow. "Easing into it helps your muscles get used to the impact of running and helps your mind get used to the effort," Hinton says. She recommends following a run/walk program like the one here three times a week (not on consecutive days). Begin and end each session with a five-minute warmup walk. Repeat a week if you don't feel ready to move up. When you're able to run consistently for at least 30 minutes, you can start adding more distance.

More: 5 Ways to Run Past Your Mental Blocks

Week 1: Run 2 min, walk 3 min; repeat 6 times

Week 2: Run 3 min, walk 3 min; repeat 5 times

Week 3: Run 5 min, walk 2 min; repeat 4 times

Week 4: Run 7 min, walk 3 min; repeat 3 times

Week 5: Run 8 min, walk 2 min; repeat 3 times

Week 6: Run 9 min, walk 1 min; repeat 3 times

Week 7: Run 30 minutes

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