As a trainer, I encourage my clients to include some jogging/running in his or her exercise program. Here are a few reasons why I do encourage my clients to jog/run.
- Jogging/Running works different muscles than walking, even at the same speeds.
- Jogging/Running gives a heavier body a reason to start becoming lean.
- Jogging/Running will make you more efficient at walking.
- Jogging/Running may help contribute to bone density.
Now if you are currently not a runner, I know that you are thinking “Yeah, Right”. Well, the human body is actually built for running. How else could we have survived as a species? Deep in our DNA, we are runners. We as a species have just allowed our bodies to adapt to another way of life. You can change this, even if you have a lot of weight to lose, or even if a simple trot wipes you out in just a few minutes.
As you begin just remind yourself that no matter how awkward and tiring it may be your body was meant to run. You do not have to be thin or medium-weight to jog or run. Overweight people can become joggers and runners. If you don’t believe me, I suggest you go watch a 5k, 10k, Half-Marathon, or Marathon. There are people of all shapes and sizes participating in those events.
As I mentioned above, jogging gives the body a reason to slim down. If you are a walker and have found that you have been stuck at the same weight, try introducing jogging/running. This will increase your chances for your body to reinstate a fat-burning process. The reason that this will reinstate that fat-burning process is that a lean body is more efficient at swift movement than is a heavy body. So adding jogging/running to your exercise plan, will "force" your body into wanting to shed the extra weight so it can adapt to the new training stimulus.
Now you might be thinking, “How the heck do I get this started?” You can get started on a treadmill (keep hands off!), indoor track, or outdoors on any terrain. If you choose outdoors, I would suggest a smooth outdoor surface to start out on, as it will help prevent injury until you become stronger. The best way to get started in your transition is to apply the principle of interval training. Interval Training is simply alternating jogging with walking. The jogs may be for only one minute, while the walking may be for a little longer. For unconditioned people, I recommend a one to two-minute jog at a slow to moderate pace, switching back and forth with a two-minute walk. Go for 30 minutes. For those walkers who are more conditioned, you can use the same interval times, but choose a jogging/running speed that pushes you harder, or you increased jogging/running intervals.
I would suggest doing this short jog interval sequence for the first few weeks. Once you find that this sequence is becoming easier to complete, attempt to do the first 5 minutes as a jog/run and then finish with the intervals. At this point you will begin to add on five minutes of jogging/running with every session until you are running the full 30 minutes. From this point you add 5 minutes to your total length, and now you have transitioned into jogging/running. Down the road, your next step for training once you can complete specified times that you want to complete, is to start working on improving times.
Here are a few tips for those who are significantly out-of-shape and/or overweight. If you fall into this category do the intervals but strive to increase the jogging/running minutes after you have been doing the intervals for the first few weeks. Slowly increasing the interval times will eventually get you to the full 30 minute jogging/running time frame while decreasing your chances of injury due to your fitness and weight level.
Just a few other things to keep in mind when starting your transition is;
- Always warm-up your muscles and joints before you begin jogging/running training program by walking for the first five minutes.
- It is important to do intervals for the first few weeks because even a fit walker can get blisters, inner-thigh burn from skin rubbing, ankle soreness, or shin soreness if he or she jogs for too long at the beginning.