Beginner’s Guide to Running (Jogging): Reap Benefits, Avoid Injuries

Jogging is one of the best cardio exercises that you can do on a daily basis without a whole lot of effort or spending on equipment or memberships. It is also one of the most traumatizing exercises for the body, and many beginners injure themselves because of lack of knowledge or carelessness. Jogging puts the body under a lot of stress & despite of the common belief, your cardio system is likely to adjust to this stress much faster than your muscles.

So how to prevent injuries from jogging?

  1. First of all, if you have a medical condition or you are of age, you need to consult your doctor first & find out if jogging is the right exercise for you.
  2. Footwear. A pair of jogging shoes is necessary, don’t use regular sneakers. Here is why:
    Unlike regular sneakers, jogging shoes are designed to take the stress off of your body to prevent injuries & to make the exercise more effective. Regular shoes also don’t have good traction, since regular sneakers often don’t have nearly enough tread to keep you from slipping on a very smooth surface, such as a tile or wooden indoor floor. In addition jogging shoes are designed to endure this type of activity, while other shoes are likely fall apart really fast. While purchasing running shoes, keep in mind that people who wear shoes that are too big for their feet may be liable to fall, because their toes don’t reach all the way into the toe area of their shoe, especially if you are running on a surface that has a slight incline or decline. The easy remedy to this is to get shoes that fit your feet, in addition to filling out the whole shoe, you also won’t have to worry about the back of your shoes either coming up or rubbing against your heel causing blisters.
  3. Area/Surface. Running on hard surfaces or areas with a lot of obstacles, like cement blocks or concrete, is not a good idea. Running on hard surfaces will cause unnecessary extra stress on your body & possibly cause injury. Obstacles can be reason for injuries as well due to stumbling or falling. If you look out and watch where you are going when you are jogging, then you will probably avoid injuries from obstacles like potholes, curbs, and lifted up sidewalk pieces.  By keeping your line of sight straight in front of you and down just a little bit, you will be able to see just about anything that would be immediately in your way, giving you enough time to account for it when you jog past it.  In the same vein, you should be careful doing this when you are crossing streets, since focusing straight ahead won’t let you seem most of the cars coming towards you.  When you reach a street, you should always look both ways before jogging across, only once you know you aren’t going to get hit by a car should you continue watching only straight ahead of you. You should avoid running in such areas completely if at all possible.
    Going jogging outside in the rain may seem refreshing, but it is also very dangerous.  With everything being covered in water, you are going to increase your chances of slipping on something, whether it would be pavement, grass, or anything else that might be exposed.  Water acts as a natural lubricant between your shoes and the surface, thereby reducing your traction by quite a bit, and making you more prone to falling.  This is even more important for snow and ice, in conditions like this, it is best to stay inside and jog on a treadmill or in an indoor facility. 

    The best surfaces for jogging (better on top):
    Grass
    Woodland Trails
    Earth
    Cinders
    Synthetic Track
    Treadmill
    Asphalt

  4. Start little, increase slowly. Running the first time can be more difficult than you would think. In fact, the first time most of your exercise might consist of walking & little periods of running. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. Start with short distance & low speed, warm up by walking before you start running, then alternate between running and walking, as mentioned above, most of your first time will be walking. Don’t overstress your body, take it easy, if you feel it’s enough, then it most likely is. Generally, a good start is 20min run, 3 times a week, however, if you feel stressed in less than 20mins, don’t push for it. At the end of your running session cool down by a little walk, don’t just be laying on your bed right away.As you continue with this exercise on a regular basis, you will gradually increase the running time & decrease the walking time. As you feel you have mastered the current level, go for a longer run, however, don’t increase until you feel completely comfortable. Alternatively, you can increase the speed.

 

How does jogging benefit your health?

 

  • raises HDL levels (vigorous exercise)
  • lowers triglycerides levels (moderate exercise)
  • lowers blood pressure
  • maximizes the lungs’ potential
  • strengthens the heart
  • keeps the arteries open for the blood to flow smoothly
  • overall betters cardiovascular endurance & lowers the risk of heart attack
  • helps with appetite
  • improves sleep
  • improves relaxation
  • lowers body weight
  • increases sex drive
  • improves mental health
  • reduces anxiety
  • slows down the aging process
  • strengthens bones and muscles
  • helps with bowel movements
  • decreases the risk of many cancers

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