Jogging or running is a popular form of physical activity. Running is an appealing exercise because it doesn't cost a lot to take part and you can run at any time that suits you. Some runners choose to participate in fun runs, athletics races or marathons.
Regular running or jogging offers many health benefits. Running can:
- help to build strong bones, as it is a weight bearing exercise
- strengthen muscles
- improve cardiovascular fitness
- burn plenty of kilojoules
- help maintain a healthy weight.
- running makes you happier
- running reduces the risk of cancer
What is the difference with running and jogging I hear you ask?
The difference between running and jogging is intensity. Running is faster, uses more kilojoules and demands more effort from the heart, lungs and muscles than jogging. Running requires a higher level of overall fitness than jogging.
Both running and jogging are forms of aerobic exercise. Aerobic means 'with oxygen' – the term 'aerobic exercise' means any physical activity that produces energy by combining oxygen with blood glucose or body fat.
How do i get the best out of my running and jogging?
Think about what you want to achieve from running or jogging. Issues to consider may include:
- Getting fit – if you're a beginner, you should start with brisk walking, progress to jogging and work up to running. This should take a few months.
- General fitness – mix your running with other forms of exercise (such as swimming or team sports) to maximise your overall fitness.
- Weight loss – adjust your diet to include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, wholegrain cereals and low-fat dairy products. Cut back on dietary fats, takeaway foods, soft drinks and sugar.
- Companionship – you could run with a friend or join a local running club.
- Competition – running clubs may offer competitive events. Most clubs have sessions designed for beginners through to advanced runners. You can pit your running skills against others in fun runs or marathons. Many community-based running events cater for people of all ages and abilities. Join a local orienteering club to combine running with the challenge of navigating through various environments.
RUNNING AND JOGGING FOR BEGINNERS
Some general tips for beginners:
- See your doctor for a check-up before you start a running program. This is especially important if you are over 40 years, are overweight, have a chronic illness or haven't exercised in a long time.
- Pre-exercise screening is used to identify people with medical conditions that may put them at a higher risk of a experiencing a health problem during physical activity. It is a filter or ‘safety net’ to help decide if the potential benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for you.
- Start with brisk walking. Aim for 30 minutes per session. Allow a minimum of six weeks to build up to regular running. Aim to increase your jogging time each session, and alternate between walking and jogging.
- Make sure you warm up and stretch thoroughly before you head out. Cool your body down with light stretches when you return.
- Make sure you have plenty of fluids and take a water bottle with you on your run. Try to drink plenty of water before, during and after any activity.
- Allow at least two complete rest days per week to avoid overtraining, which may cause injury. Consider other low impact activities, such as swimming, at least once each week.
- Plan your route. If possible, choose flat, grassy areas rather than hard or loose (such as sandy) surfaces to reduce the risk of injury.
- Avoid running near roads. This is especially important if you have a pre-existing condition such as asthma. Vehicle exhaust fumes can increase your risk of various cardiovascular and respiratory complaints or illnesses.
- Avoid the 'peak hour' periods to reduce your risk of inhaling air pollution from motor vehicles. If possible, schedule your runs for either the early morning or the evening.
- Wear loose cotton clothing. Dress your upper body in layers of clothing so that you can take off layers as required.
- Apply SPF 30+ sunscreen to exposed skin areas.
- Buy an appropriate pair of shoes.