Regular running and jogging maintain a healthy weight.

Jogging or running is a popular form of physical activity. Regular running builds strong bones, improves cardiovascular fitness and helps to maintain a healthy weight. The difference between running and jogging is intensity, but both are forms of aerobic exercise.The difference between running and jogging is intensity. Running is faster, uses more kilojoules and demands more effort from the heart, lungs and muscles than jogging. Running requires a higher level of overall fitness than jogging.

1. It improves your cardiovascular fitness
Aerobic exercise like jogging improves your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles. It also helps your muscles to become more efficient at using that oxygen. The more you exercise it, the better your heart works, and this reduces the risk of a heart attack.

2. It can help to reduce your blood pressure
Improving the fi tness of your cardiovascular system can reduce high blood pressure, which is one of the risk factors for a heart attack or stroke.

3. It increases levels of good HDL cholesterol
HDL cholesterol removes deposits of bad LDL cholesterol from your blood and carts it off to your liver to be excreted from your body. Excess LDL cholesterol is linked with heart disease as it blocks the flow of blood to your heart. Levels of HDL cholesterol can be boosted by improving cardiovascular fitness.

4. It helps to build strong, healthy bones
Weight-bearing exercise like jogging puts your bones under stress, so your body responds by increasing your bone mineral density to make your bones stronger. This makes them less likely to break, and helps to keep osteoporosis at bay.

5. It can help prevent diabetes
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the risk factors for type-2 diabetes, as is being overweight. Jogging can help with both of these.

6. It may make your immune system stronger
A strong immune system helps you to fight bacteria and viruses. Regular exercise stimulates the production of cells in your blood that fight off bugs.

7. It may help decrease your risk of cancer
Several studies indicate that aerobic activity like jogging may be able to reduce the risk of cancer, in particular breast and colon cancer. It’s thought it does this by affecting several factors that can play a part in the development of cancer, such as obesity, inflammation and hormone levels.

8. It can help with weight-loss
Jogging is a great way of burning fat. If you weigh 65-70kg you’ll burn up to 335 kilojoules for every kilometre you run. So if you jog 5km four times a week, that’s up to 6700 kilojoules you’re burning each week.

9. It improves mental fitness
Jogging and other physical activity can lead to the release of endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that produce a sense of happiness and wellbeing. It can also help relieve stress and can improve your confidence and self-esteem.

10. It may help you to sleep better
Doing cardiovascular exercise such as jogging – particularly in the morning – may set your body clock so that you are wide awake during the day and sleepy at night. Plus it may help you to relax and go to sleep more easily.

Some general tips for beginners:
See your doctor for a check-up before you start a running program. This is especially important if you are over 40 years, are overweight, have a chronic illness or haven’t exercised in a long time.
Pre-exercise screening is used to identify people with medical conditions that may put them at a higher risk of a experiencing a health problem during physical activity. It is a filter or ‘safety net’ to help decide if the potential benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for you. Print a copy of the pre-exercise screening tool and discuss it with your doctor or exercise professional.
Start with brisk walking. Aim for 30 minutes per session. Allow a minimum of six weeks to build up to regular running. Aim to increase your jogging time each session, and alternate between walking and jogging.
Make sure you warm up and stretch thoroughly before you head out. Cool your body down with light stretches when you return.
Make sure you have plenty of fluids and take a water bottle with you on your run. Try to drink plenty of water before, during and after any activity.
Allow at least two complete rest days per week to avoid overtraining, which may cause injury. Consider other low impact activities, such as swimming, at least once each week.
Plan your route. If possible, choose flat, grassy areas rather than hard or loose (such as sandy) surfaces to reduce the risk of injury.
Avoid running near roads. This is especially important if you have a pre-existing condition such as asthma. Vehicle exhaust fumes can increase your risk of various cardiovascular and respiratory complaints or illnesses.
Avoid the ‘peak hour’ periods to reduce your risk of inhaling air pollution from motor vehicles. If possible, schedule your runs for either the early morning or the evening.
Wear loose cotton clothing. Dress your upper body in layers of clothing so that you can take off layers as required.
Apply SPF 30+ sunscreen to exposed skin areas.
Buy an appropriate pair of shoes.

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