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Jogging - benefits for the health, how to do it
What is jogging
Originally jogging meant slowly or relaxed running some distance. Nowadays jogging have a more extended meaning that this article is based upon: Jogging is running to improve health and condition and for leisure at variable speeds suited for these purposes. Running as a competive game is not called jogging.
Good effects from jogging on the health condition
Jogging done on a regular basis give a distinct good effect upon the general health, provided it is not over-done. The effects are:
Jogging makes the heart stronger. It increases the capasity of the blood circulation and of the respiratory system.
It speeds up the digestive system and helps you get rid of digestive trouble.
It counteracts depression.
It increases the capasity to work and lead an active life.
Jogging makes you burn fat and can thereby help against over-weight. Jou can consume 100-200 extra calories in a half-hour session. In order to be an effective means to loose weight, the jogging sessions must be at least half an hour and be repeated fairly often. The extra burning of fat continues some time after the session is over.
If you suffer from poor appetite and too low weight, short jogging sessions will improve your appetite, and in this case it can help you to gain weight.
Jogging will strengthens the muscles of the legs, hips and back. However you will not get very big muscles from jogging.
Jogging makes you sleep better.
The pleasure from jogging
Jogging gives you physical and mental joy, provided you do not exhaust yourself. When jogging is done correctly, you will actually feel less tired when you have finished a tour than before you began. You get nice feelings in your muscles during the jogging and afterwards.
You will hear the wind blowing in the threes and the leaves rustling in the wind. You will feel the wind blowing around your body. You will hear the birds singing, the music of running water in the streams, or the sound of waves dashing towards the seashore. During the jogging you will also get an euphorical mental feeling after some time.
After the jogging session, the stress in your mind and body is blown away. Yoy feel calm, but usually not tired or exhausted. On the contrary, you feel more allert. When the night falls on however, you get a good and pleasant sleep.
Body and foot clothing
The type of clothes you were, must be suited to the weather conditions. In warm weather, shorts and a t-shirt is enough. In colder weather you must add more layers of clothes. In either case, the requirements for the clothes are:
You should use light and soft clothes without any sharp sutures or hard folds or massive folds.
They should sit fairely close to your body, but not so close that you feel squeezed, trapped, or so that your movements are hindered.
The clothes should give good ventilation for moisture and sweath / perspiration through the fabric, and the fabric should give good support agains cold weather. The fabbric should idaelly hold water out from the outside, but this requirement is difficult to achieve together with the requirement of good ventilation.
You should use fairly soft shoes, but with a good shape fitting to the anatomical shape of your feet. The soles should easily bend during the normal movements of your feet, but be rigid against unnatural movements, and support well against the ground. The underside of the soles should give friction against any type of grounds, so that you do not slide during jogging.
The soles should help to distribute the weight of your body over a greater area of your foot, and not directed towards one single point that then have to carry your whole weight.
The soles should buffer well against each impact from the ground and absorb the impacts well. The impacts not absorbed should also be distributed over a greater area of your foot, and not get directed towards narrow points.
In order to distribute body weight and impacts optimally, modern running shoes have softer inside areas, or even liquid inside pads that absorb and distribute the weight and impact.
How to perform a jogging session - general principles
You should move slowly with little effort the first few hundred meters to warm up your muscles. Then you gradually increase your muscular work and speed.
When you have done half the route, you can increase the efforts using most of your capasity. This will result in a speedy spurt if the steepness of the path is not increasing also.
Increasing your effort when the steepness also increases, will usually allow you to hold the same speed.
If the route is long enough, you can take two or three spurts using nearly full capacity.
The last hundred meters you gradually decrease your efforts again, so that your speed slows down.
Jogging can be practised in a gym studio at a thread-mill, and on modern threadmills you can even preprogram the length of the session and the speed variations of the session. Jogging on a thread-mill can be a good way of practising in the winter and in dense cities, but when the opportunity is there to take a jogging tour in the nature, this is far to prefere.
Jogging sessions for beginners
If you are a beginner, you must do your first sessions in a careful way to get used to jogging and to avoid ovet-straining your muscles and your condition.
In the very beginning, take a tour of 2-3 km, alternating 3-4 times between fast walking and slow running. If your condition is very weak, you can mostly walk, but take 3-4 short cautious runnings.
When you have got more used to jogging, take a tour of 3 km in a moderate speed and in an even terrain.
Jogging sessions for experienced joggers
Experienced joggers can variate the sessions in a lot of ways, but adhering to the general principles outlined above.
Long distance jogging 8-20 km in a moderate speed on even roads or paths, but with two or three spurts of greater speed.
Short distance jogging 3-6 km in a fairly high speed, increasing the speed for some time at the mid of the tour.
Jogging upword in a steep terrain 2-3 km, in a speed ajusted to the steepness. At the mid of the path you can increase the effort for some minutes. This will result in an increased speed if the steepness does not increase also. If you want, you can run slowly down again, rest for some minutes and then repeat the tour.
Jogging in a hilly terrain with pathes going both up an down 4-8 km. When the path goes upward, you can try to hold the same speed by increaseing your effort.
Some people like jogging marathon distances and the like. If you think this is fun, you can do it with some frequency just for that sake, but you do not get more health benefits from a marathon distance than a distance of 10 km. Probably you get less.
It is adviceable to vary the type of jogging from day to day. Then the jogging gets more funny, and you get a variable type of training.
Spurting is a variant of running suited for building up a high performance condition. By spurting you run as fast as you can without overstraining yourself a short distance, for example 100 m. You must run so fast that your heart and breath rate rises markedly.
You repeat the spurt several times, and between each spurt you have a rest that lets your heart and breathing attain normal level again. Before performing spurting you should perform a brief jogging session at a relaxed speed to get your muscles and blood circulation warmed up.
Jogging in the winter
It is fully possible to perform jogging in the wintertime upon snow and even upon corny ice. Snow usually give a good grip so you do not fall easily. You must be clothed for the temperature outside, so that you feel warm even if you have to abort your jogging session. Use a double layer of clothes on your lower body, and at least a tripple layer at your upper body. Carry with you a light back-pack with an extra jacket to take on if it gets colder than anticipated.
You must use warm shoes or warm sockets in your shoes. The soles must have deep patterns so that they get good grip. If you can, avoid smooth ice and ice with loose snow upon. If you cannot avoid such conditions, step very lightly and carefully until you again reach conditions that give better friction.
Muscle stretcing before and after each session
It is adviceable to stretch out both before and after each jogging session, and not only the muscles in your feet, but your whole body 1 min before and 3-4 minutes after the session.
When stretching out do the following movements:
Bend forword and touch your toes.
Kneal down on one of your feet, and stretch the other out backwords.
Twist your body to both sides.
Strech out an arm, grab something, and turn your body round so that your arm is bent backwords.
Shoot your abdomen foreward, so that your spinal column is stretched into a bow.
Place your hands behind your neck and strech your arms backwords. Then twist your body to left and right, also bend to each side.
After the jogging it is sometimes best to wait for some minutes before you strech out, so that the worst tiredness has gone away first.
When and how frequent
If jogging is the only sport activity done, a jogging session every second day is ideal. This is enough to give all the health benefits and increase your condition and endurance gradually, but without were yourself out. If you combine jogging by other types of sport activities, 2 times a week may be enough.
You should not be too hungry before jogging, but it is not adviceable to take a jogging session stright after a big meal. The time of the day does not matter, but your jogging should not be the first thing you do in the morning.
Beginning your jogging program
If you are not accustomed to physical activity before you start jogging, it is adviceable to consult a doctor before you start. You may have health issues that is not compatible with jogging activities, or that you must consider when doing your jogging.
The first times, you should only jog on plain ground and only for 10 minutes. Then you can increase the time/distance and the speed, and choose steeper and more difficult paths.
Jogging combined with body building
People that have the aim of growing greater muscles and are doing body builing activities for this, and combine these activities with extensive jogging, will sometimes experience that their muscles do not grow well enough. On reason for this is that you do not get enough carbohydrates and fat through your daily diet, so that you use the protein in your food for energy for the jogging instead of using it to build muscles. Maybe there is also a natural physical reaction to reduce body structures not necessary for the running to fit the body for effective running.
It is advicable to do jogging as a supplement training also when you do body building because you need the condion you get thereby. You should however get enough carbohydrates when you perform jogging, and not do too long or frequent jogging sessions. A 3,5 miles of 4 km session two times a week is probably ideal in these circumstances. You can instead do a short jogging session to warm up before the muscular training.
By Knut Holt
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