There’s never been a better time to dust off your trainers. The Dubai Fitness Challenge is in full swing, and Dubai Women’s Run is fast approaching. If you’ve signed up for the five- or 10-kilometre women’s runs at Dubai Festival City on 16 November, or you’re simply looking for some motivation to get off the couch, why not consider hitting the pavement tonight? Dr Rik Kundra, a Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon who specialises in knee surgery and sports medicine at Neuro Spinal Hospital in Dubai, shares the benefits of running as well as tips on staying injury-free when you put foot to pavement.

What are some of the benefits of running?

Running provides an excellent cardiovascular workout for the body. In addition, running helps to maintain both muscle and bone strength through the repetitive load bearing that occurs whilst running. There is also evidence to show that running can improve psychological health and mood.

If you’re a running newbie (like me!), what’s the best way to begin?

It is important to check with your doctor before you take up running. You also need to ensure you have good-quality running shoes that fit you well. Inappropriate footwear may place other parts of your body at risk of injury, such as your knees. Finally, you should consider joining a running group – for motivation and to exchange running tips.

Can anyone run?

Running is suitable for most age groups, however as noted above, it is important to check with your doctor before taking up running.

For those of us who’ve signed up for the Dubai Women’s Run, how should we be preparing?

Plan your training well in advance and get a training partner or join a running group. Ensure your medical fitness and nutrition is optimised – consider consulting a sports medicine specialist for further advice. Remember to build up your training intensity gradually and allow adequate rest days in between to allow your muscles to recover.

What can runners do before and after exercise to reduce injury risk?

Good postural control and alignment is important, so consider seeing a sports physio to evaluate this for you. Allow sufficient time to warm up and cool down to reduce the risk of muscle cramps and injury. And don’t forget to invest in those good-quality running shoes.

To register for the Dubai Women’s Run, visit dubaiwomensrun.com

Looking for more health and fitness inspiration but not yet ready to head outdoors? The Good Life shares six ways to work out in your living room.