How To Start A Jogging Exercise Program
How to start a jogging exercise program is a topic that anyone interested in achieving a heart-healthy lifestyle should have an interest in. To promote and maintain health, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association recommend that all healthy adults get 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise five days per week or 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise, three days per week. Jogging is an excellent choice for satisfying the recommendation. It requires little in the way of equipment, a good pair of running shoes and weather appropriate clothing. A place to jog is as close as a residential sidewalk or neighborhood park.
- The first step in starting a jogging exercise program for some people may be a visit with a healthcare professional. While jogging is a safe activity for most, those who have not exercised for a long period of time or who are more than 40 pounds overweight are advised to see a doctor first to make certain they are healthy enough for vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise. In addition, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that those with chronic health conditions like heart disease, arthritis or diabetes talk with their doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are appropriate before beginning an exercise regimen like jogging.
- Getting a good pair of running shoes is the next step before starting a jogging program. Running shoes can be a significant investment but giving in to the temptation to buy less expensive athletic shoes to save money may result in injuries. Running shoes are available in three general types. Neutral shoes for those with high arches, stability shoes for those with average arches and motion control shoes for those with low arches. Skimping on shoes or getting the wrong type can lead to a host of running related injuries and unnecessary pain and soreness.
- Choose a place to jog. Options include sidewalks, lightly trafficked city streets, park fitness trails, nature trails and public school tracks permitting public access. Especially when starting out, softer surfaces like asphalt roads or tracks specifically designed for running are more forgiving and easier on the joints and leg muscles than jogging on concrete. Treadmills at home or a gym are also an option but can be boring in comparison to jogging outdoors.
- There is no need for speed when beginning a new jogging program, so start slowly. The primary reason people abandon attempts at starting an exercise regimen is trying to do too much too soon. Moderate-intensity exercise is defined as achieving a heart rate of 50 to 70 percent of a person’s maximum heart rate and vigorous-intensity exercise is achieving a heart rate of 70 to 85 percent of maximum. Inexpensive heart rate monitors are readily available that provide constant feedback on heart rate while exercising.
- Alternating walking and jogging at the beginning is a wise means of starting a new jogging exercise program. This approach allows the body to acclimate gradually to the new demands of an exercise program and minimizes discomfort that can result from sore muscles. There are a number of good run/walk programs available that can be followed. One such program, “Couch-to-5K” has been successfully used by thousands of people to establish a jogging exercise program. The program gradually introduces people to getting the body moving, starting off by alternating walking and running small distances and slowly building up to longer distances. After just 8 weeks those who complete the plan are able to run 5 kilometers or 30 minutes non-stop.