If you are contemplating taking up jogging as an activity, you may find the hardest thing is taking the first step. But there are so many reasons why getting off the couch and into your training shoes is a great thing to do. The first reason is all about health. The benefits of regular exercise are well-documented but at the most basic level we are talking about weight management and its associated benefits. Jogging for 30-40 minutes, three times a week, will help a person shed pounds and replace fat with toned muscle. Not only will this make you feel much better in yourself, it will also make you feel much better about yourself.
If you are embarrassed by your body shape, or you are reluctant to wear figure-hugging clothes or swimwear because you are carrying some extra weight, then regular jogging might be the answer. But, more importantly, those weekly jogging sessions might also prove to be lifesavers. Being overweight puts your body at risk from a number of life-threatening diseases. Type 2 Diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, liver malfunctioning and breathing problems are all associated with obesity. There is also a risk of developing osteoporosis and forms of arthritis through lack of regular exercise.
Have you ever sank down into your couch and felt as if nothing in the world is going right for you? Or have you sat at your desk, drowning under the weight of work. Situations like this call for action, and by this, I really do mean action. Instead of reaching for the bar of chocolate or the bottle of wine, think about putting your training shoes on and going for a brisk walk or a jog. It will clear your head and help you get a new perspective on life.
In more serious cases, the feeling of drowning can become a regular thing and the danger there is that you are skirting around the edge of depression. It sounds like a cliché but exercise really does help with depression. Here is the science in its simplest form: exercise releases hormones such as testosterone, cortisol, insulin, growth hormones, adrenaline and endorphins. Of these, testosterone and growth hormones both help with muscle repair and cell regeneration; insulin and adrenalin transform fat into energy; cortisol reduces stress and endorphins are the feel-good hormones, that give you a ‘runner’s high’ and lighten your mood.
Improving your quality of life
Have you ever wanted to play with your kids in the park, or heard your colleagues discussing a hike they are planning and thought ‘if only I could do that.’ What’s stopping you is your level of fitness. One kick of the ball or a few metres into the hike and you are going to be feeling pretty awful. This is why starting an exercise program such as jogging could transform your life. And it can happen quickly. A few weeks of regular jogging and you will find that your endurance levels will dramatically improve.
A combination of less weight, stronger muscles and a fitter heart and lungs system will allow you to do the things you never thought you would be able to do. So what is stopping you? This is where the battle with yourself begins. It is so easy to put up barriers because, as we said at the start of this article, the first step is the hardest. You have probably not participated in any physical activity since school days, and you shudder at the memory of those physical education lessons. But now this is your choice and you are choosing to improve aspects of your life.
Firstly, visit a shoe specialist for advice on which trainers are suitable. Buy running gear that will not make you self-conscious. At this stage you do not need to buy the myriad of gadgets that are available for runners, such as GPS systems or hydration packs – this is just about your first steps. Once you have your running gear you can pretty much get going with no further expenditure.
Step outside and the world becomes your gym. If you live in a climate where rain or cold weather is an issue, then a gym membership might be necessary, but generally speaking jogging is one of the cheapest and easiest routes to healthy living. Jogging also offers an opportunity to increase your social circles. Ask among your friends and work colleagues if anyone would like to join you on your jogging sessions. Or join a jogging group – you can find these via websites dedicated to running.
Your first steps
You have made a decision to start jogging. What do you do now? A visit to your doctor for a check-up is vital before you embark on an exercise program, then pull on your jogging kit and leave the house. It doesn’t matter whether you walk, jog or a combination of the two. The important thing is that you commit to going for a jog on a regular basis; three times a week for about 40 minutes is a good starting point.
There are a number of good programs on the web that will give you comprehensive training sessions to match your aspirations. Take it easy in those first sessions. You do not want to injure yourself or feel ill because of the exertion. And remember, exercise is not just good for you, you should feel good as a result. Running for Beginners is here to help you start your jogging journey.