Want to increase your fitness this year? Before you go and spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars, euros, pounds or francs on a gym membership consider the following:

Try walking, jogging, or running.


winter runningThe biggest reason most people don’t stick with training at the gym, is that it’s not conveniently located. Starbucks understands the value of location and the path of least resistance, which is why they build cafés across the street from each other. They know that people are less likely to cross the street. Running is the easiest fitness activity – step out your door and you’re off. No excuses.

All you need to get started is a pair of shoes. Running shoes are most comfortable, but for walking and slower jogging any cross trainer will get you started. Start slow and build up your tempo and distance – you’ll be surprised how fast your endurance will increase.

I started running in August 2009. The first time I went out I was out of breathe after a kilometer and walked the kilometer back. Within two weeks I could run 5 kilometers and by the end of October I ran my first marathon. I’ll admit that I wasn’t working, so I had lots of time to run and train. Even if your progress isn’t that fast if you stick with it, you’ll notice your fitness levels increasing and you’ll feel better.

Here are a few simple rules of thumb to keep in mind:

  1. running forestStart at a comfortable pace.
  2. Set achievable goals, be it distance or time. It’s easier to increase your challenges than to feel defeat and not want to continue.
  3. The adage “no pain, no gain” isn’t a good one to follow. If your joints hurt running, slow down some and shorten your stride. You may also want to try not going as far/as long because you need to build up your muscles. Sore muscles after are alright, that means you used them.
  4. Give yourself rest days, your body will thank you for it.

Walking, jogging, or running. They’re easy to do at any time of day, you don’t have to go far to do it and it’s inexpensive. Try it, and measure your progress with QUENTIQ to stay motivated and encourage your friends to get active too.

Christian LangeneggerAbout the Author: Christian Langenegger (born 1982) has lived and worked in Canada, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. In 2009 he founded the language school Marathon Sprachen with his best friend in Zurich. Christian is also a regular contributor to the online magazine Newly Swissed and co-founded the running enthusiasts blog Dromeus with another friend in 2012.