One of the best cardiovascular workouts. A study found that women running 40 miles a week reduced their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 45 per cent compared with women running under ten miles. Even 45 minutes on the treadmill lowers blood pressure. The added bonus is that it is also weight-bearing exercise that maintains and builds bone mass, particularly legs and spine; to enhance benefits to upper body, try strapping on light hand weights. Running can cause joint damage. It burns more than 630 calories an hour but actually shortens muscles – the back of the thigh can become bulky in runners. Muscles must be warm before speed is built up, or there’s a risk of injury. It needs to be combined with stretching exercises – before and after every run – to avoid injury. Yoga, Pilates and stretching will smooth out and lengthen the muscles that running contracts. Running also improves circulation and helps with stress.