When starting an exercise program, there is little that is cheaper or simpler than jogging for beginners. So long as you take your time and are patient with yourself in mastering the basics, you will soon be pounding along rhythmically on the road to fitness.
First Step in Jogging for Beginners
The hands-down most important first step in your new exercise regimen is purchasing quality shoes. While jogging is easy and natural - you have been running since the day you learned to walk - no matter what your level of fitness, you must wear shoes that support your arches and ankles, offer adequate space for your toes and allow you to achieve maximum balance. Good shoes mean good posture, so that you are supporting your joints and back as well.
Athletic shoes are sold everywhere, including online, and some are almost ridiculously inexpensive. However, this is one aspect of your fitness program in which you want to spend whatever it takes in order to get the best possible shoe. Go to a shop that specializes in athletic equipment. Many shops have sales assistants who are knowledgeable about fitness and can help you choose the right shoe. They will probably ask you to run a few feet for them. Don't feel foolish, this is the best way to determine what you need. Even those people in top physical condition can sustain injuries. Do what you can to avoid injury by purchasing the best shoe for your foot.
One of the hardest parts about jogging for beginners is pacing themselves. People think that, since they know how to run, they should just be able to put on their shoes and go. This will quickly lead to exhaustion, which leads to discouragement, which leads to shoes being forgotten in the back of the closet. Build your strength and endurance at your body's pace, and you'll settle into the regimen far more easily.
First, be sure to stretch before jogging. You don't have to do a whole yoga routine, just some simple stretches to loosen calves, tendons, quadriceps and your waist and neck will do. Spend at least ten minutes stretching. This warms up your muscles, guaranteeing a more pleasant and effective run.
Give yourself a goal. It can be as small as running around the block. Having a goal propels you along and gives you a stronger sense of accomplishment when you're done.
After each jogging session, as with any aerobic workout, take a few minutes to cool off. Walk your body down, shaking your arms and doing a few more leg stretches before hitting the shower.
Sample Jogging Routine
When you start a jogging routine, you should start with gentle walking and jogging and build up your intensity and speed as you get stronger. Here is a sample jogging routine:
- First Week: Start gently. Walk for seven minutes. Jog for one minute. Repeat for four intervals. Complete these sessions three times a week.
- Second Week: Walk for six minutes. Jog for two minutes. Repeat for four intervals. Strive to do this three times a week.
- Third Week: Walk for five minutes. Jog for three minutes. Repeat the intervals four times. Plan to do this exercise three times a week.
- Fourth Week: Walk for four minutes. Jog for four minutes. Repeat for four intervals. Do this three times a week.
- Fifth Week: Walk for three minutes. Jog for five minutes. Repeat four times. Aim for exercising this way four times a week.
- Sixth Week: Walk for two minutes. Jog for six minutes. Repeat this interval three times. Jog four times a week.
- Seventh Week: Walk for two minutes. Jog for eight minutes. Repeat three times. Prepare to jog this way four times a week.
- Eighth Week: Walk for two minutes. Jog for ten minutes. Repeat three times. Try to jog four times a week at this pace.
- Ninth Week: Walk for one minute. Jog for ten minutes. Repeat three times. Plan to jog five times a week.
After completing this beginner jogging routine, you can carry out ten-minute jogging sessions with minimal walking. You should try to jog four or five times a week. You can gradually increase the length of time you jog each session at the same rate as the nine-week routine.
The Actual Run
A jog is not a dash. You want to run lightly, at a speed that allows you to breathe regularly. Your breaths should be long, inhaling and exhaling through the nose. A deeper breath maintains top circulation and allows you to get more out of your exercise.
Concentrate on running heel-toe, heel-toe. This is best for your muscles and posture. Speaking of posture, keep your shoulders back, your stomach in and your head up. Bend your arms at the elbow and swing them in time with your legs.
Maintaining the Regimen
Another difficult aspect about jogging for beginners is getting into and sticking to a routine. This can be harder if you have a busy schedule, and especially if you have small children. One answer is to team up with other parents. Exercising in a group makes the run more fun and helps guarantee that you'll all stay involved. And if you don't have sitters, take the kids with you. Pushing a stroller can help build muscle.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Even if you decide to enter marathons, it's still all about your own health, so run at your own pace. If that's on the slower side, that's fine. You will still improve your heart rate and build strength and endurance. The real race is to stay fit, and that's a race you can definitely win.