Karl Henry: Keep running, but only if it makes you feel good
Fast walking will deliver the same benefits without the joint impact and it can be far more enjoyable - just make sure you work hard
I am a runner, I love running and how it makes me feel.
I love challenging events and how I feel when I complete them.
You don't need to be a personal trainer or health expert to know that moving makes you feel good, feeling fit makes you feel good, regardless of age, shape or weight. Running has never been more popular, with more events than ever before and more people out jogging than ever before too.
A question I get asked a lot is, which is better, running or walking?
Firstly, whatever makes you feel good, is good for you. Running is fantastic if you love to run, but if you run because you think it is going to help you lose weight, because your friends are doing it or to try to change your shape, then my advice is to stop.
If you hate running but are trying to persist for anyone of those reasons, then it's not going to last.
It's going to become another short-term quick fix, something that you will spend lots of your hard earned money on, only to stop soon after.
Exercise is fantastic for you, especially in the long-term - the key to long-term health is to find a type of exercise that you enjoy. It has to become fun.
Why should I run? Exercise: Run if you love it, but stop if and when you hate it. Fast walking will deliver many of the same benefits without the joint impact and it can be far more enjoyable for people too.
It doesn't really matter what the exercise is, once you enjoy it, that's the most important thing.
There are far too many single-minded coaches and trainers out there, who believe that theirs is the only way people can get healthy, but there are hundreds of ways.
You must keep looking until you find what you enjoy, fact.
Once you find your exercise, then you need to ensure that you are working hard enough to call it exercise.
To get the benefits, you need to ensure that you are working hard enough.
Strolling to the shop or work is not exercise.
Easy pedalling to work is not exercise.
Taking big breaks and strolling around the gym isn't exercise either.
Get out of breath: The benefits of exercise, such as lean tissue, metabolic changes, energy, fat burning and hormonal release all happen when you work hard enough.
You need to work hard enough to get out of breath but still able to just about have a conversation, for all of your sessions, to ensure that your getting the most benefits out of the session.
High intensity interval training will do exactly the same, where you are fully out of breath, either will do. But make no mistake about it, you have to work hard for benefits to happen, taking it easy is no benefit to you at all.
Change it up: Time is so precious, you want to make the most of your training time. Work hard, get out of breath, get the benefits.
So far, you have learnt two key skills to improve your exercise. The next key skill, to ensure you're getting the most from your training, be it running, gym work or walking, is to ensure you are changing you session as often as you possibly can.
The body will change when it is challenged - that's what gets you the progress and the results, but when you start doing the same things all the time, it's pretty obvious that you aren't going to get the results, you won't see the progress from the session, you will get bored and you will stop.
Seems obvious doesn't it, but yet so many of us get caught in the same loop, week after week, month after month.
The more you change your sessions, the better the results will be.
Aim for balance: In the gym you can change your exercises, your reps, your sets, your class, your programme on the cardio machine.
Out on the road, you can change your route, your speed, your distance, your stride or even your training partner.
Making a small change such as this will revolutionise your results and make you more focused on your food and your goals too. I believe that there are so many ways to get fit, I am passionate about helping people to get fitter, unlike so many others I am not egotistical to think that my style of training is the only way, it certainly isn't.
Find who ever you like, who's message you believe and follow them, aim for health to be as balanced as possible, enjoy it and live your life.
CHECK OUT KARL'S FITNESS VIDEOS ON Independent.ie