Running for Exercise
30 million Americans jog on a regular basis, making it our most popular form of exercise. When you begin a jogging program, remember to start in moderation and increase distance over a four-week period of time. The timing of the exercise also is important and should be done at the same time of the day.
An appropriate stretching regimen is needed to allow for proper muscle relaxation prior to jogging and increase the pulse rate. Learn how to stretch properly, concentrating on the lower back, hips, and knees. A normal stretching routine should last 10 to 15 minutes. Adequate conditioning and warm-up are the best prevention for tendonitis, shin splints, and low back pain. This not only is important for pre-workout stretching, but also for post-workout warm-downs.
The jogging surface is another consideration. A soft, level, running surface helps prevent the stress fractures and overuse syndromes of the ankle and foot. Shoes should offer good shock absorption, adequate heel control, and a generous toe box.
Whether the exercise is jogging, walking, bicycle riding, or swimming, exercise routines should be performed at least three times a week for approximately 45 minutes at peak heart rate. The peak heart rate is 70 percent and 80 percent of 220 minus age.
A final word of caution: all the exercise done will not compensate for a poor diet and overeating. General health is best served when proper body weight is maintained and a well-balanced diet is selected.