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Jogging for Obese People

by
author image Cindy Pineo
Cindy Pineo has been writing about diet, wellness and culture since 2002. She is coauthor of the book "The Atkins Diet and Philosophy." Pineo holds a Master of Arts in English literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Arts in humanities from the University of Chicago.
Jogging for Obese People
Jogging is for people of all sizes. Photo Credit Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images

If you're obese and in otherwise good health, jogging is most likely a safe, effective exercise option. Before beginning a jogging program, get a medical checkup. Once you begin, following a structured program and gradually ramping up your mileage will provide steady progress and minimize your chances of injury. Heavier runners must be careful to avoid joint injury, but the benefits of regular jogging, especially if you love the sport, will probably outweigh the risks.

Benefits

Regular exercise is great for your health, regardless of body weight. Exercise prevents cardiovascular disease, lowers mortality rates and is crucial for overall well-being. Running or jogging gives you an excellent aerobic workout, although it also places more stress on the joints than low-impact cardio workouts such as swimming or bicycling. If you enjoy jogging, have the time and inclination to jog regularly, and receive medical clearance, it's a terrific workout option.

Safety

Before starting a running program, anyone who is overweight or obese must receive physician approval. Medical clearance is also necessary for anyone who is older than 40, unused to exercising, prone to bone or joint problems, diagnosed with a serious medical condition or a cigarette smoker. Mention any physical symptoms to your doctor, such as dizziness, heart palpitations or breathlessness. Your doctor may give you instructions about how to jog safely and suggest a training plan.

Knee Injury

Running is risky if you have pre-existing knee injuries or pain. However, if you do not have arthritis or other knee ailments, there's no proof that running will cause damage, according to Dr. Melina Jampolis, a member of CNN's medical unit. Even if you have some degree of knee pain or injury, jogging may still be possible. By alternating jogging with strength training and other cardio training, you can mitigate risk while still working toward your running goals, Jampolis explains. If you have knee trouble, consult a physician or physical therapist to come up with a sensible training plan.

Training

All new joggers should follow a beginner's training plan, which will start with run/walk intervals and gradually work up to longer stretches of running. It's fine to progress more slowly than the plan stipulates, but don't increase mileage more rapidly or skip steps. Another training tactic is to monitor your heart rate and exercise in your target heart zone, which is 50 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate. As your cardiovascular fitness increases, you will be able to jog for longer periods while staying in the target zone. Aim to exercise in your target heart zone for at least 30 minutes, three or more times per week. However, don't run two days in a row when first starting out; your body needs time to recover between sessions.

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