Health benefits of running as Prince William reveals he went on secret New York jog

Prince William, pictured at the Earthshot Summit, revealed he went running through Central Park in New York City. (Getty Images)
Prince William went running through Central Park in New York City. (Getty Images) (Getty Images for Bloomberg Phila)

He may be on a rather hectic schedule during his week in New York, but Prince William managed to sneak in an early morning run in Central Park without being detected.

The Prince of Wales, 41, revealed his incognito jog on earlier this week at the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit at the Plaza Hotel. The royal was able to fly under the radar as he joined “the hordes of New Yorkers doing their morning routine”.

“It was wonderful waking up in New York on a sunny morning rather than the rain we had yesterday,” he told one of the previous winners of his Earthshot Prize. “It was beautiful getting some fresh air this morning.”

Both the Prince and Princess of Wales stay active in order to keep fit. Kate Middleton recently revealed that she is a fan of cold water swimming, which William seems to shy away from. Instead, the heir to the throne would rather go for an outdoor run.

Read more: Kate Middleton opens up on ‘crazy’ hobby she does in the ‘dark’ and it’s all thanks to her parents (GoodtoKnow, 2-min read)

What are the benefits of running?

Running is considered one of the easiest and most affordable ways to improve your fitness levels.

A young Black woman with an afro, wearing an orange tank top, goes on a run while wearing her smartphone in an armband and a smartwatch on her wrist
Running can help improve several aspects of life, including mental wellbeing. (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

According to the NHS, going for a run or jog regularly can help by:

  • Improving heart health

  • Improving lung health

  • Increasing joint strength and stability

  • Reducing the risk of chronic illnesses

Some studies have shown that running also has the potential to help improve mental wellbeing. Sports brand Asics surveyed 14,000 people and found that 82% of British runners say the activity helps to clear their mind, while 78% felt more in control of their lives because of running.

Read more: Running: Do the risks outweigh the health benefits? (Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read)

Running can also be an inexpensive sport, as you do not require a gym membership or costly equipment to get going. All you need is a pair of running shoes and the outdoors.

How popular is running?

Running is an immensely popular sport at all levels, from beginners to professional athletes. Figures from Statista estimate that, in 2021, around 6.3 million people participated in running in England.

How can I get started with running?

Many people kickstart their running with the popular Couch to 5K app, which is a free running plan for beginners provided by the Office for Health improvement and Disparities in partnership with the BBC.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care, the free app has been downloaded 6.5 million times since it launched in 2016. Last year, it helped people complete 6.46 million runs.

Running or jogging communities, such as Parkrun, can also help motivate you on your running journey. Exercising with other people fosters a sense of community and many people encourage one another to keep going.

Runners taking part in the Parkrun at Bushy Park in London
Joining running and jogging communities like Parkrun can help motivate you on your running journey. (Getty Images) (PA Images via Getty Images)

The NHS recommends starting each run with gentle warm-up exercises for about five minutes, including:

  • Walking

  • Marching on the spot

  • Knee lifts

  • Side-stepping

  • Climbing stairs

Read more: How to start training if you want to run a marathon (Yahoo Life UK, 5-min read)

How do I stay motivated to keep running?

Anika Kainth, musculoskeletal physiotherapist at insurance company Bupa, advises beginners not to attempt a big run from the get-go. Instead, start small and give your body time to adapt to the new activity, which will also minimise the risk of injury.

Setting realistic goals and keeping track of your progress will also help you stay motivated as you continue to improve your running and your health. You can do this by downloading a running app, like Couch to 5k or Nike’s running app.

"Whether you use an app or follow your own programme, it's really satisfying to watch your running progress,” Kainth said in her Bupa blog post. "Whenever your motivation is flagging, look back and see how much you’ve improved in terms of time, distance, or speed.

"Maybe your first goal is to make it to the end of the street, or to the next lamppost. Whatever your goal is when you go for a run, celebrate those small wins."