For me, I became a jogger quite by accident. In junior high, I had a teacher, Ms. Brannon, a former marine, who used to jog around the basketball court in the gym during lunch period and recess. Immediately following recess, I had a free period and often spent that time in the gym’s bleachers, reading.
Sometimes I’d make it to the bleachers before recess was over and I’d watch Ms. Brannon finish her laps before disappearing off to change for her next class. It looked kind of fun, and I needed a little more exercise anyway, so I decided to give it a try.
The next day I changed into my gym clothes during recess and waited in the bleachers for my free period to begin, and to let Ms. Brannon finish her laps (She and I hadn’t always gotten along when I was a student because I was a rebellious punk).
But as luck would have it, she’d noticed me watching her run. When I was in the stands the next day in gym clothes, she guessed I’d decided to give jogging a try and came over to give me a little advice and encouragement and keep me from hurting myself and giving up.
Here’s the advice she gave to me all those years ago by the basketball court:
Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. This one may seem like a no-brainer, but wearing the proper clothes for jogging will go a log way towards making the experience much more enjoyable. Be sure your jogging clothes fit well and, perhaps more importantly, breathe well. Nothing will turn you against jogging faster than being in itchy, sweaty, chafing, poorly fitting clothes.
The same goes for shoes. Your shoes should fit and support your foot, and should be made for running. If your shoes are too big or too small, or for the wrong sport, your feet won’t get the support they need. Tired, sore and blistered feet will make you rue the day you decided to run. Visit a good athletic shoe store and get proper shoes.
Warm up before jogging. Stretch out well before running. Cramping and pulled muscles will put you on the bench in no time, and until you heal each and every step you take will be a painful reminder of why you should take care to get the blood flowing and those tendons warm and stretched. And after your workout, don’t forget to a proper cool down to prevent cramps and stiffness.
Watch your form. Running is great exercise and fun, but you won’t get the maximum benefits from doing it if you don’t learn the right form. Both upper and lower body position is important, watch a few experienced runners and see how they hold their bodies while they run, or ask a running coach or a gym trainer. With a few quick pointers
Breathe correctly. Learning the best way to breathe will go a long way towards maximizing the cardio benefits of jogging, and help you perform better on your runs.
Before starting any kind of workout regimen, make sure you get checked out by your family doctor to make sure you are healthy enough. Jogging can be stressful on the body, so you need to be sure you can handle the strain of working out before you start.
Jogging has many factors that make it a fun way to exercise and stay in shape: it’s inexpensive to do compared to many other sports, you can do it almost anywhere, and you’ll quickly see results from your effort. And, with a little knowledge, you’ll find yourself reaping the benefits of your new healthier body in no time at all.