Regular exercise can lower your risk of disease, improve your quality of life and make daily activities easier to perform. Cardiovascular exercise is often the largest component of an exercise program and should be done a minimum of three days each week. Jogging is considered cardiovascular exercise, and opportunities to jog are often easily available, because you don't need any specialized training or equipment.
Jogging is more physically demanding than activities such as walking, because it is a high-impact activity that uses large muscle groups. At one point in your stride, both feet are off the ground, and you land on one foot at a time, propelling your body forward. The primary muscle groups engaged are your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Jogging also engages your core and upper body to stay upright and maintain balance.
Impact on Heart and Lungs
Jogging raises your heart and respiration rates to provide much-needed oxygen to your working muscles. Your heart is a muscle, and this rhythmic activity and increased demand makes it stronger. You will be able to pump more blood per minute, which means that over time, your heart has to work less. Your lungs become more efficient at transferring oxygen and carbon dioxide during activity, which makes exercise more efficient.
Impact on Body Weight and Metabolism
Currently over two thirds of American adults are classified as overweight or obese, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Jogging and other forms of cardiovascular exercise are essential to reaching and maintaining a healthy body weight. Jogging burns calories, and burning calories is an essential part of the weight-loss equation. It also raises your metabolism for up to three or four hours after exercise, which burns more calories throughout the day. Your body will burn these extra calories from your fat stores and help you attain a healthy weight.
If you are new to jogging or any type of exercise, begin slowly. Start with walking regularly and get your body used to weightbearing exercise. Add in short bouts of jogging alternating with walking and build up until you can jog for at least 30 minutes straight. To minimize your risk of injury, wear shoes that are specifically designed for running so that your foot is supported. Stop jogging immediately if you experience pain, dizziness or lightheadedness.
- "ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription"; American College of Sports Medicine; 2010
- Fitness Facts: Jogging Fitness Training
- "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning"; National Strength and Conditioning Association; 2008