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'Strength and Flex made me a better runner'

Father-of-two Cliff Hobby tells how Strength and Flex improved his running.

Father-of-two Cliff Hobby started Strength and Flex and Couch to 5K as a way to get back into regular exercise.

He did Strength and Flex every other day and found the five-week programme really improved his running.

Below, the IT manager from Hampshire talks about his experience of progressing through the Strength and Flex podcasts.

Where did you find out about Strength and Flex?

I found Strength and Flex on the NHS Choices website when I was looking for a way back into regular exercise. It seemed quite straightforward and I liked the podcast approach, with coach Laura guiding you through each week. 

How has Strength and Flex helped your running?

I have gone from not running at all to regularly running distances I used to find challenging to complete on a bike. I find cycling much easier, too, and have the confidence to tackle longer distances for both.

I know from experience that if I have completed Strength and Flex regularly, running will be a little easier, and the Strength and Flex stretches have helped keep me free from injury.  

How active were you before starting Strength and Flex?

Before Strength and Flex, my exercise had been mostly bike rides, walking and swimming at weekends, plus some weight training – but it was patchy, and I wanted something I could follow more regularly that would improve my overall fitness. 

Why did you decide to get more active?

I realised I ought to be much more active than I was and it was up to me to do something about it. I spend a lot of time working and found I didn't have as much time or energy for other things. I wanted to change that. I enjoy sport and wanted to improve my fitness, as well as lose a little weight.  

Where do you do Strength and Flex?

I'm lucky enough to have the space to complete Strength and Flex indoors and, although the pull-ups took a bit of lateral thinking, most of the exercises are simple enough to do inside. 

Do you ever feel self-conscious exercising in public?

I haven't completed Strength and Flex outside yet, but I've never felt self-conscious about exercising outdoors. It's something I enjoy and it's improving my health, plus there are plenty of other runners and cyclists around. 

Has your health improved since starting Strength and Flex?

I've noticed a real improvement in my overall health since starting Strength and Flex. I have much better stamina, more energy, have lost weight, and generally feel more alert. I've also developed more of an interest in my own health and wellbeing. 

What do you like most about Strength and Flex?

Strength and Flex was a great way to get back into regular exercise and is something I can complete in my own time. The exercises are really straightforward, yet you still feel like you have achieved something at the end of a session. 

Did you find the Strength and Flex exercises challenging?

I think it was more about the challenge of completing the five weeks, as I'd tried other programmes before and not really stayed the course. One or two of the exercises make you realise how unfit you really are to start with, but it's good because you can see yourself progressing over the five weeks.  

Do you still do Strength and Flex?

I still use the week five podcast from Strength and Flex on non-running days, and it seems like a good warm up now, which I guess shows my fitness has improved since starting it. 

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