So you’re thinking about jogging. Great decision! Lifetime joggers can tell you that you will never regret that decision to incorporate more activity into your life. Well, some moments you will regret it. Let’s be honest, sometimes exercise is hard! But overall, if you make a commitment to fitness you will be glad you did. Today we discuss how to jog properly!
Reasons to Take Up Jogging
If you have wondered about taking up jogging, there are many reasons why you should.
✓ Build Stronger Bones: Weight-bearing exercises such as jogging helps you to build stronger bones and prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
✓ Cardiovascular Improvement: Jogging is one sure way to improve your heart hearth as it challenges your cardiovascular system.
✓ Burn Calories: Exercising in general is an excellent way to burn calories which may lead to weight loss.
✓ Muscle Strength: Jogging will help you build stronger muscles.
✓ Lower Blood Pressure: One natural side effect of jogging is it often lowers blood pressure.
✓ Relieves Stress: Jogging releases natural endorphins which can relieve stress. It’s like nature’s happy juice!
✓ Sleep Better: People who exercise on a regular basis, including jogging, tend to sleep better. Just be careful not to exercise too close to bedtime if that tends to keep you awake. Exercise has that effect on some people.
How Should a Beginner Start To Jog?
In order to start jogging, you need to get yourself prepared. If you have not had any type of exercise in quite a while first we recommend you get clearance from your physician to work out. An annual physical is a good way to help keep your body in tip-top shape! Your doctor will encourage you on your new quest for fitness. Trust us on this one.
Next step in a how-to jog tutorial: you need to get yourself proper gear. Although there is a lot of expensive gear out there, know that you don’t necessarily have to break the bank!
- Shoes – Shoes are not an item you should skimp on! The best practice is to visit a local running store for run analysis. The associate should be able to help place you in shoes that are best for your feet and running styles.
- Socks – If you want to prevent blisters you should take protecting your feet one step further and purchase some nice running socks. Again, these don’t have to be pricy. They should, however, not be cotton. Some people find “foot specific” socks (labeled left or right) have a better fit.
- Base Layer – If it is summer, this is all you need. Shorts and a t-shirt or tank. Some even shed the top layer on really hot days. Most joggers prefer performance gear made from moisture-wicking fabric. Note that even discount stores carry these fabrics so, again, it does not have to be expensive.
- Outer Layers – For cold weather running, you will find you need pants or running tights. In addition to that, you will want long sleeve layers for added warmth. Running jackets and/or fleeces help trap warmth in.
- Sports Bra – If you are female you will want to experiment with some comfortable sports bras. Start by purchasing one and be sure you like the fit, style, and support. You may need to try a few to find that magical perfect fit.
- Safety Gear – If you plan to jog at dawn or dusk you will need safety gear such as a headlamp and reflective/light-up vest or jacket.
Starting From Scratch
If you are starting from a low level of fitness, you should plan to walk a lot. And that is okay! Most beginner programs actually encourage people to simply walk for a few days a week before breaking into jogging.
Does everyone need to start this slowly? Absolutely not. In fact, you might print out this plan and a week in say to yourself, “This is too easy. I need something more challenging.” If that happens, good for you! You are then more fit than you originally thought. Couch to 5K might be the plan for you!
Couch to 5K
Although there are many versions of this plan online, they all follow the same premise: you need to walk before you can run. In Couch to 5K, the athlete starts with mostly walking and adds in a small amount of running. You ease into running. It is a slow, deliberate implementation that eventually, has most people running the entire time.
One thing that bears mentions is that if you are following this plan and you struggle with adding more time jogging, it is okay to stall in the program. In other words, if you are jogging 7 minutes followed by 1 minute of walking and you can’t seem to give up that minute of walking, who cares?
If you head into a workout planning to walk one minute for every seven you jog it’s a plan, it’s not weakness. Be kind to yourself. Especially when you are first starting out.
How to Jog Properly?
So what is jogging anyway? Jogging is when you transition from a walk. When walking a foot is always on the ground. In jogging or running you will have moments when neither foot is touching the ground. Also, when jogging your heart is working harder and your breathing changes.
Typically walking is done with arms at your sides hanging down. In jogging, you should have a comfortable elbow bend and your arms should swing comfortably in that position. Many runners find the word jogging to be negative, but you shouldn’t feel that way! Jogging is defined as a run at a steady and gentle pace. That isn’t about time per mile, however; it is based on your perception as an individual.
If you’re putting out an all-out effort you’re running, no matter what the time on the watch reads. If you’re putting in an easier effort you’re jogging. Again, no matter what the time on the clock is.
So when asking yourself how to jog properly just relax, put a gentle bend to your arms and start picking up your feet. Focus on breathing easily and move forward. You’re jogging!
How Long Should Beginners Jog?
Some Couch to 5K plans have the person starting as small as 15-20 minutes. And that is okay if that is what your body needs! An excellent rule of thumb is to aim for that American Heart Association recommendation of 30 minutes of physical activity where you are elevating your heart rate. Of course, any activity is better than sitting on the couch!
Remember you are aiming for 30 minutes of movement. Whether you are doing some walking, jogging, or even putting some harder paces in there somewhere, everyone starts somewhere.
One good thing to remember is that even short workouts are worth doing if the alternative is skipping altogether.
How Do You Breathe While Jogging?
Most casual joggers can benefit from breathing from both the mouth and nose. This will allow maximum oxygen to enter your body. Some runners prefer nose breathing and that seems to be more popular for easy runs. Once you are putting forth a challenging effort, mouth breathing is often necessary to maintain that level of exertion.
The big key to breathing is to try to maintain level breathing, at least as a beginner. Focus on breathing in and out to a regular footfall pattern can often help to alleviate side cramps.
As you ask yourself if you are ready to become a jogger, the best advice we can give is to just head out the door. It can seem scary but when push comes to shove our bodies are made to run. You may have to start slowly, it probably won’t be pretty at first and you will often feel discouraged. Prepare yourself mentally for that.
However, you will also feel accomplished and you know what? You never regret having run. Just head out the door and put one foot in front of the other.