The sight of the determined, lycra-clad jogger has become a familiar feature of urban parks around the world. Jogging – defined as “the activity of running at a steady, gentle pace” – was made popular by running pioneer Arthur Lydiard, who realised that this was a better way to train for competition than sprinting to exhaustion. Jogging gained a huge following in the 1980s, and has recently experienced something of resurgence.
There are clear health benefits to this relatively cheap and accessible activity. According to a study, regular jogging increases the life expectancy of men by 6.2 years, and women by 5.6 years.
Jogging improves oxygen intake and heart function, reduces blood pressure and inflammation markers, increases insulin sensitivity and bone density, and helps to prevent obesity and blood clots, among many other things.
Everybody runs differently, so your technique is going to be unique. Even so, there are a few key pointers that may help. Within the first ten weeks, new joggers should expect to see their movement become more efficient, and their running gait improve.
The right shoes!
Going to a specialist running store is very useful – they should be able to give you feedback and advice on your current running shoes, your technique and what extra support you require. This can make a big difference when it comes to preventing injuries; something all runners are trying to achieve.
Keep in mind, however, that the most expensive shoes might not be the best – in fact, it’s probably more important to make sure they are comfortable.
Setting goals is proven to give you the motivation you need to get started, and to continue training. These may include personal goals to get fit and lose weight, or you may aim to complete an event like a 5 km, 10 km or half or full marathon. Remember, any goal is a great tool – but you may simply enjoy jogging – that’s fine, too.
Mixing up your jogging routes and venues is vital to beating off potential boredom. So, make sure not all your jogs are over the same distance and on the same loop. You can’t beat a new trial for a longer jog, just make sure you know where you are going – or you may be running for longer than you anticipated.
Jogging is an accessible urban sport – it’s also smart, sociable and healthy. It isn’t a surprise that jogging has made a comeback. So, put on your trainers, go for a jog and live longer.