Your cardiovascular system will experience long-lasting effects of jogging as you make it part of your regular exercise program. Jogging can strengthen your heart and your body's ability to distribute oxygen and blood. It's important for cardiovascular fitness because it prevents buildup of plaque in blood vessels and arteries, while lowering your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Coronary Risk Reduction
Coronary heart disease is one of the top three disease killers in the United States. For many individuals, a regular exercise program, like jogging, could reduce or eliminate the risk factors associated with it. High blood cholesterol can clog the arteries of your heart if not controlled by limited intake of high saturated fats in your diet. Along with a nutritional lifestyle low in saturated fats and cholesterol, jogging could improve your high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, level of your lipid profile. The HDL level is the good level of your cholesterol. It helps to remove excess cholesterol from the cells to the liver for removal from the body. Less excess cholesterol will lower your risk of developing coronary heart disease.
Increased Heart Function
A better functioning heart gives a better functioning body. Each time you jog, you increase the amount of maximum oxygen intake for your body. Maximum oxygen intake is your body's capacity to transport and use oxygen during exercise. Breathing easier during more strenuous activities, like jogging, can be felt within the first couple of weeks of your jogging program. You may find the distance you were able to jog just four weeks ago is much easier now after jogging consistently over those weeks.
Reduction in Resting Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the amount of pressure on your arteries as your heart propels blood through your system and then as the heart muscle relaxes. As you continue with your jogging program, you may begin to notice a reduction in your resting blood pressure reading. Now that your heart is functioning at a higher level, and more oxygen is being delivered to the body, a change begins to occur with the blood vessels throughout your body. Your blood is delivered more efficiently with less effort to your body. Therefore, less pressure is measured against the wall of your arteries and blood vessels.
Before starting a jogging program, check with your physician or health care provider. Be sure to wear comfortable, supportive jogging shoes to protect your body and give proper traction. Wear appropriate clothing for the weather, and stay hydrated with water during your jog. To increase your flexibility and reduce stiffness, stretch for five to 10 minutes after your jog.
- American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer Manual: Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Exercise: R. LaForge
- American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer Manual: Nutrition: J. Berning
- Bulletin World Health Organization: The Maximum Oxygen Intake