Any physical activity is good for our body.
But jogging is one of those exercises which has numerous benefits and can be easily incorporated in any lifestyles.
The American heart association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week and they qualify jogging as a moderate exercise. They recommend it to be broken into half an hour sessions for five days in a week.
Jogging does not require any extra cost that one has to give in gyms, expensive machines and exercise classes (except for a good pair of jogging/running shoes).
Difference Between Running And Jogging
The difference between running and jogging is in intensity.
Jogging is a lower intensity exercise. One may also call it trotting or sustained running at a steady and slow pace.
Jogging is more of a weight-bearing exercise as feet make maximum contact with the ground. Jogging builds endurance level and stamina.
In the case of running, it is a high-intensity workout where feet make minimum contact with the ground.
How to Start Jogging?
A beginner should first start with walking, then brisk walking and then jogging over time.
Aim for 30 minutes per session.
Start with walking for 30 seconds, followed by brisk walking for 60 seconds. Then start jogging.
Start with jogging for 30 steps then take rest for 10 seconds. Then jog again for 30 steps. Gradually increase the number of steps.
Another technique is to jog for 5 minutes and then take a 20 seconds rest. This technique will help you to not burn out quickly. Allow a minimum of six weeks to build up to jogging.
It is a good idea to alternate between jogging and running in the 30-minute sessions. For maximum overall fitness, mix your jogging with other forms of exercise like cycling, spinning, swimming, yoga etc.
Increase the jogging sessions gradually. Do not stomp your feet. Land softly on the ground to remove shock and avoid injuring knees. Give time to the muscles, tendons ligaments, joints and muscles to get adapted to new movements.
Because of less blood circulation, ligaments and tendons adapt slower than muscles. A common goal is to increase by 10 percent each week.
Benefits of Jogging
As I mentioned, jogging has numerous health benefits.
Below I am listing some of the most prominent benefits of jogging.
Boosts metabolism and controls obesity
A half an hour jog is said to burn 300 calories. According to the US national library of medicine, if you jog at a speed of 6.67mph, you can burn between 290 and 365 calories in a half-hour long sessions.
Jogging burns fat quite fast.
Jogging is reportedly more effective in boosting metabolism than mere walking. Higher metabolism helps to burn fat faster.
A sedentary lifestyle leads to one becoming overweight which jogging prevents. A mile jog is said to burn 150 calories. Doing this everyday one will burn even more in the long run.
There is also an afterburn effect in which you continue to burn calories for the next 48 hours after the run. Thus, it can be safely said that jogging helps prevent obesity and makes us lose weight.
Increases bone strength
When a person begins to jog, the bones experience an amount of stress and load.
When this load and stress is put on a regular basis, the bone starts to endure the load. Against this raised load, the bone strengthens (bone of hip and spine as well) and improves bone thickness.
In turn, bone is also rewarded with less injury and solves bone problems like osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Tones the muscles
Jogging tones down and works on muscles.
It is great for developing calf, hamstrings and gluteal muscles and muscles in the midsection of the body.
It engages the muscles into a repetitive activity and rewards them by developing them giving the body a leaner look.
Improves mental health
Jogging helps to improve the mental health of the person.
When you jog, your body releases a good hormone called endorphins. Endorphins are feel-good hormones responsible for uplifting your mood and making you feel positive.
Jogging helps to reduce stress and tension by inducing calmness. This is done by the release of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine chemicals from our brain.
The condition due to the release of endorphins is called as runners high. It makes one feel happy the whole day.
According to research, jogging is proved to be effective in treating anxiety and depression. Exercise has also been shown to reverse the adverse effects of stress which are age-related at cellular levels.
Experiments have shown that jogging leads to new neurons being created in the brain. Neurons are brain cells and an increase in their number has shown to lead to better learning and memory capabilities. They are also helpful in diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease.
Sleep also improves not only due to physical tiredness but also because negative thoughts and stress which usually keeps one up late at night are less due to positive mental impacts of jogging on the brain.
The cardiovascular system is responsible for transporting blood around the body and consists of hearts, veins, arteries, and capillaries.
Just like lung grows extra alveoli, capillary density increases. Capillaries are where exchanges are made between blood and cells which results in each cell receiving oxygen in greater quantities and speed as well as easily passing on waste. Each cell is, therefore, functioning to a greater degree of efficiency.
Studies have found that those who use jogging to stay fit had improved lipid profiles.
According to a study, jogging reduced cardiovascular risk factors in middle age sedentary men (non-smoking). The men jogged for 2 hours a week for four months.
It is also known to decrease hypertension.
One study of middle-aged men found that those who included a combination of walking and jogging in their daily routine saw improvement in their blood pressure levels. Systolic blood pressure went down by 14 mmHg while diastolic blood pressure reduced by 12 mmHg
A different study noted that the incidence of hypertension was 35% more in those who did not exercise compared to those who exercised. And the results held true for all age groups from 35 to 74 years.
Jogging is also known to lower LDL or bad cholesterol levels from the blood.
Helps Regulate Diabetes
Jogging is known to regulate blood glucose levels.
Jogging is also known to prevent diabetes. Having no physical activity is said to be a risk factor for developing diabetes.
By jogging regularly one is able to prevent and aggravate diabetes.
Jogging is known to be helpful in preventing certain cancers.
This is because of better oxygenation of the whole body. The cells which do not receive enough oxygen multiply quite fast often turn malignant.
Jogging increases the supply of oxygen to the body thus preventing certain cancer formations.
When we make our own targets and reach them it gives a good sense of achievement.
Constantly trying to build and improve motivates a person to do more. Counting steps, reaching goals is an accomplishment which boosts confidence and increases self-esteem.
The best part is the competition is healthy as one tries to beat one’s own score. The body is rewarded by greater stamina and strength.
Jogging also teaches self-sufficiency and perseverance as one has to reach their target alone with constant effort.
According to one study, the death rate was significantly lower among light or moderate joggers than sedentary non-joggers. However, high-intensity strenuous joggers had a mortality rate similar to non-joggers.
A study was released by Copenhagen city heart, which mentions that regular jogging increases the life expectancy by 6.2 years for men and 5.6 years for women.
Boosts Respiratory system
Jogging being an aerobic exercise, helps to increase the endurance of the respiratory muscles.
Efficiently taking in oxygen and removing carbon dioxide during jogging enhances lung capacity and strengthens the respiratory system muscles. The lungs grow more alveoli to improve the rate of gas exchange between blood and lung due to a constant amount of good oxygen coming in.
Asthmatic patients should be careful as certain exercises like jogging breathing problems can be triggered. However, if asthma is in a controlled state, it improves overall lung health for all patients.
Prevents Infections and Builds Immunity
Jogging stimulates the production of lymphocytes and macrophages.
Macrophages are bacteria fighting cells and lymphocytes fight the infection through the immune system. Having these cells circulate systematically helps to boost the immune system and helps to fight various viral and bacterial infections.
When we are jogging, the white blood cells and antibodies responsible for immune function circulate better and faster. This can help in early detection of illness.
Anti Aging Effect
As the skin receives more oxygen and blood, it starts to look more fresh and youthful.
Also, after a short period of jogging, one will be in a better state both physically and mentally.
Good oxygen adds color and firmness slowing down wrinkle development.
Additional Tips for Jogging
Eat a healthy well-balanced diet. Remember your vehicle is your body so give it good quality fuel to have a good quality drive and to ensure no injuries take place. Give some time for the food to be absorbed and then go for jogging.
Never jog immediately after food.
Apart from food, the body needs to rehydrate. Give it a consistent supply of fluids. Drink before, during and after jogging. Remember dehydration can wear out the muscles.
Choose well-lit areas. Avoid hot afternoons. It is better to jog early in the mornings or late evenings. Avoid peak hours as that will make one inhale fumes from vehicles. The same reason to avoid jogging near roads. If possible choose a flat, grassy area.
Do not jog near dangerous and isolated areas. Keep someone informed about your routes and timings. Keep a phone and keep emergency numbers in case of accidents and injury.
Strength training and choosing different terrains to run will strengthen the muscles and help you jog efficiently.
Planks, Box jumps will help you to jog for 5 miles at a stretch by strengthening your thighs and glutes.
Jogging downhill helps build muscle control and lead to improved performance while jogging. Jogging in zigzag and lateral motions frequently changing directions helps to train leg muscles. It also helps to increase the brain-body coordination.
Clothes should be worn in layers as one can remove layers according to comfort. It is a good idea to choose reflective materials. Choose loose cotton clothing.
Apply sunscreen (SPF 30+) to exposed areas.
If you’re above 40 years of age or have some chronic disease, it is a good idea to do a checkup before starting any exercise.
As I have stated before, since it qualifies for a WHO standard of exercise of 150 minutes/ week, AHA advises it to be broken down to half an hour sessions, five days of the week. The other two days should be rest or recuperation days.
Good stretching should be done as a warm up before jogging and as a cool down after jogging to avoid injury. When we jog, our muscles undergo constant contraction and relaxation. Stretching helps to prepare the muscles for long endurance training. Without preparation, muscle cramps occur.
Walking can also be used as warm up.
It also helps to loosen up the body, removing all tension from all parts of the body including feet. Stretching after jogging is equally important as a cooling down technique. It helps the muscle to recover quickly and prevents injury.
Choose good jogging shoes, ones that fit well and can be bend from the middle. Do not compromise on the shoes as ill-fitting shoes are known to cause a lot of injuries. Right shoes protect the bones of the feet from the impact given to them when a person jogs.
There should be little room for toes to wiggle. Wear neutral running or training shoes and if needed use an orthopedic shoe for jogging.
Don’t forget to breathe! Without proper breathing, you will not be able to pump enough oxygen into the cells of the body. A good technique is to count your steps and breathe in and out. For example, inhale for 4 steps through the nose and exhale for the next four steps through the nose. When one is exhausted, they should breathe in through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
Lastly, good adequate sleep is important. When we run, our muscles undergo wear and tear. Sleeping and resting help the muscles to rebuild themselves. A good sleep should be for at least 6-7 hours.
Hope these benefits and tips are sufficient to keep you motivated for a lifetime.
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