The health benefits of jogging are numerous, no one disputes this. The question though, is it right for you? I have an example for you. I love reading all the health magazines for tips and advice on weight loss and ways to improve your health – jogging is one of them. So I decided to give it a try one day while taking my daily walk around the track. How hard can it be? I see men and women in their 50s everyday jogging past my home. Boy was I mistaken.
It took me about two minutes before I stopped, bent over gasping for air and rubbing my shins which were screaming in pain. Of course I didn’t exactly follow some of the core rules of jogging either. Okay, so I didn’t follow any of the core rules of jogging. This goes without saying that I was a smoker at the time; this does not exactly supply the body with the oxygen it needs when you are running. I do love the benefits jogging offers, and plan on giving it another shot. So let us discuss these first. I think they will help motivate you, just as they have motivated me to do things right.
Weight loss is a major benefit of jogging. On average, you can burn 150 calories per mile versus 100 calories for every mile you walk. If you jog five miles four days a week you can easily burn 3,000 calories. The benefits do not stop there, though. You continue burning calories – 15% more – for 48 hours after your jog. You must, of course, eat healthily too.
Jogging is thought to improve your immune system. It increases the production of both your white blood cells and the cells that fight bacteria in your body.
A long term benefit of this cardiovascular exercise is the decreased risk of cancers such as breast, colon, lung, ovarian and prostate cancer.
You can reduce your risk of heart disease by jogging on a regular basis. It strengthens your heart; the stronger your heart, the more resistant it becomes to disease. It does not have to work as hard to pump blood through your body.
Now that you know some of the benefits of jogging, and are motivated to implement it into your daily exercise routine, you must begin the right way. The first to do is undergo a physical and make sure your doctor feels it is safe for you to begin jogging.
Invest in a pair of running shoes. This helps prevent pain in your feet, legs and back. Experiencing pain of any kind will surely stop you from continuing or trying again.
Wear comfortable clothing – nothing designer, just something that allows your skin to breathe and sweat to evaporate. Remember, it is not a fashion contest, it is about you improving your health.
Carry water bottles with you to prevent dehydration. The more you sweat, the more water your body loses. Dehydration can be dangerous and land you in a hospital.
Breathe, breathe, breathe. Make sure you are not holding your breath. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Your body needs oxygen as much as it needs water.
Listen to your body. If it hurts, stop. You may have set a goal of running one mile, but your body knows what is best for you. If you can only jog for five minutes, it is okay. Slow down and walk the other four miles. Slowly build up to your goal.
Now we have to examine the other side of the coin. What if you, for some reason, cannot meet your goal? What if your doctor does not give you clearance to jog because of a health condition? Do other options exist? Luckily for you, they do.
You can get into shape or shed excess pounds in a variety of ways. These ways have less impact on your joints and are just as effective as jogging.
Walking is the first alternative. Although you may not burn as many calories for every mile walked, you are still burning more calories than if you were sitting on your couch. The general rule of thumb is 45 to 60 minutes per day four days per week. Even if this is too much, break it down into three, 10 minute intervals.
Swimming is another great alternative, and is quite possibly better than walking. It places less strain on your joints, and you can water jog. How awesome is this? Depending on where you live, some local community pools offer water aerobics classes.
Taking a bike ride is yet one more option to consider. Again, possibly less strain on your joints, and this activity offers a great workout for your lower body, especially your bottom.
In summary, the health benefits of jogging are considerable but there are also many alternatives if jogging is not suitable for you.