Healthcheck
photo of a person looking worried

SHOULD YOU DO COUCH TO 5K?

When might it not be advisable?

For most people, Couch to 5K is perfectly safe, and brings lots of health benefits. A small number, though have pre-existing medical conditions that might make this type of exercise difficult or unwise.

We’d hate to have you register for our programme only for you to drop out in the first week or two because it’s too hard for you or gives you pains or other complications.

graphic of a stopwatch showing 20 to 30 minutes

The most important test is whether you can walk for 20-30 minutes without experiencing undue pain or dizziness. A slight ache afterwards is fine. Being out of breath is also OK. But if you feel real pain then sorry, but we can’t accept you onto the programme.

If you passed the first test, here are some of the conditions that we have encountered. It is not a complete list of conditions that can affect your participation. Please remember that this list is only based on our past experience of providing our programme, and our view of whether it has, in the past, affected a member’s ability to participate.

None of the team are medically qualified and we cannot comment on individual cases. The table is provided only as a guide. Everyone is different - a mild case of something might be OK where a severe case might not. You know more about your condition than we do, and you know better than us exactly where on the scale you are. If you have any doubt about whether you should register for a Couch to 5K programme, consult your medical advisor.

Stable Angina (refer to the blue panel) graphic showing green alert
Painful Ankles or Feet (refer to the blue panel) graphic showing amber alert
Anxiety graphic showing green alert
Arthritis (refer to the blue panel) graphic showing amber alert
Asthma graphic showing green alert
Back Pain (refer to the blue panel) graphic showing amber alert
High Blood Pressure graphic showing amber alert
Low Blood Pressure graphic showing amber alert
Chest Pain (refer to the blue panel) graphic showing amber alert
Cystic Fibrosis graphic showing green alert
Depression graphic showing green alert
Diabetes - Type 1 or Type 2 graphic showing green alert
Fibromyalgia (refer to the blue panel) graphic showing amber alert
Hearing Loss graphic showing green alert
Heart Disease (refer to the blue panel) graphic showing amber alert
Heart Surgery - recent graphic showing amber alert
Hypermobllity (refer to the blue panel) graphic showing green alert
Knee Pain (refer to the blue panel) graphic showing amber alert
Overweight - no difficulty walking for 20-30 minutes graphic showing green alert
Very Overweight - difficulty walking for 20-30 minutes graphic showing red alert
Pregnancy - current graphic showing amber alert
Pregnancy - recent graphic showing green alert
Reynaud’s Complaint graphic showing amber alert
Sciatica graphic showing amber alert
Spondylolisthesis graphic showing amber alert
Stroke graphic showing amber alert
Thyroid (over-active) graphic showing green alert
Thyroid (under-active) graphic showing green alert
Varicose Veins graphic showing green alert
graphic of a tick mark You should be OK to particpate, but if you have any doubt, check with your medical adviser.
graphic of a question mark You might be OK to particpate but you should check with your medical adviser.
graphic of a cross Sorry, but we cannot accept you onto the programme unless your health improves.
graphic of an information symbol Get more information from the NHS web page for this condition.

Remember - The most important test is whether you can walk for 20-30 minutes without experiencing undue pain or dizziness. A slight ache afterwards is fine. Being out of breath is also OK. But if you feel real pain then sorry, but we can’t accept you onto the programme.

If you’re sure that jogging isn’t for you, then don’t give up on the basic idea of doing some exercise. Doing any type of exercise is more important than the type of exercise. There are lots of other things to try – swimming and cycling give most of the benefits of running, and your local leisure centre probably offers many other alternatives.