For many people, jogging can be a great way to get started with exercise when you're out of shape or want to lose weight. Even those who are in good shape may want to take up jogging just to increase their cardio and get out in the fresh air. Whatever your reasons may be, jogging is an excellent form of exercise, but one that isn't quite as easy as it looks. Before you throw on your running shoes and head out the door, read through this beginner's guide on how to jog to lose weight.
Benefits Of Jogging
Jogging is a great way to improve your health. There are numerous health benefits of jogging, including:
- Improving endurance and lung strength
- Improving heart strength and preventing heart disease
- Lowering blood pressure
- Improving bone strength and health
- Preventing diabetes
- Losing weight
- Strengthening the immune system
- Building confidence and relieving stress
What To Wear
Like any sport, jogging comes with its own uniform and equipment, so to speak. There are some key pieces of clothing and apparel that you'll want to invest in if you plan to include jogging in your regular exercise routine, including:
- Running shoes: This is the most important piece of apparel for any jogger. You'll need a good, sturdy pair of running shoes before you start jogging. Take the time to make sure the shoes you choose fit snugly and have good foot support. These shoes will be your first defense against any type of injury, whether it's a blister or a sprained ankle.
- Socks: Next, consider the socks you'll wear while jogging. If possible, find socks that are lightweight but still provide enough cushion to prevent blisters and sore feet. Look for special materials which wick moisture away from the skin.
- Clothing: Jogging pants and shirts should be lightweight to keep you from sweating too much. Like with the socks, look for materials in both shirts and shorts or pants which wick moisture away from the skin. If you plan to run outdoors, be sure you are ready for any type of weather - get a jacket that will keep you warm and dry and mittens and a hat if needed. Also, make sure you buy reflective clothing or vests if you plan to jog after dark. Don't feel pressured into buying expensive runner's attire; just stick with loose, comfortable gym clothes as you're starting out.
- Watch: Consider buying a sports watch that is light and won't be bothersome while you jog.
- Pedometer: Many joggers like to use a pedometer on their runs. This helps you measure exactly how far you've gone so you can track your progress.
Running Shoes And Pedometer
How To Warm Up
Jogging may seem like an easy exercise to some, but it's very important that you stretch before jogging in order to get your muscles ready for the workout ahead. Additionally, stretching will decrease your risk for injury and prevent aches and pains after your jog is complete.
Do a light jog for a few minutes first - this helps your muscles get a little warmed up before you begin the following stretches.
- Quadriceps: While standing, pull your right foot up behind your body. Using your right hand, pull the right foot gently towards the back of your leg. Switch to stretch the opposite leg.
- Hamstrings: Sit on the ground and extend both of your legs straight out in front of you. Stretch your hands towards your toes as far as you can reach, bending only at the waist.
- Calf muscles: Stand on a step and hang the foot of your right foot off the edge. Slowly lower your heel towards the floor. Switch the stretch the opposite leg.
- Groin: Sit on the ground and pull both of your feet together so that the bottoms of your feet are touching one another. Using your hands, gently pull both feet towards your body further. As you do this, try to push your knees down towards the ground on either side of you.
Among the most important things to keep in mind as you start jogging is your form. The proper foot strike is important in maintaining good joint health. Focus on touching your heel to the ground first, then rolling your weight forward onto the balls of your feet. Your steps should be as light and soft as possible. As you tire, you may take harder steps and your form may start to lag as your foot smacks the ground. When this happens, take a break for a few minutes until you regain your stamina.
Next, make sure you drink some water before and after each jog. Don't overdo it right before a jog or your could get cramps. It's better to stay well hydrated throughout the day and then have extra water right after your jog is complete.
Start your first few jogs off slow, especially if you have not been working out much before beginning this new exercise regimen. If you begin to feel fatigued, stop or take a break. Don't push yourself to go too fast or too long when you're just starting out.
Finally, make sure you are eating a healthy diet if you want to maximize your jogging experience. Get plenty of nutrients from fruits and veggies and get complex carbohydrates for energy from cereals, pastas and breads. Cut back on fats by avoiding items like whole milk, red meat, butter and cheese.