Are you one of those people who dreams about getting up each morning, donning a pair of runners and going for jog in the fresh air? Yet in reality you find it difficult to go further than a couple of hundred metres? Well you are not the only one. Some of us are born runners, we do it from such a young age that it never seems to be difficult to get up and started. If you are not one of these people however, don’t let that put you off. Running/jogging is an excellent form of exercise that you can learn to love! (well, at least learn to like!).
Jogging/running is an aerobic form of exercise with many health benefits, including:
- Enhances stamina and endurance
- Effective at burning calories
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Helps maintain strong bones
- Strengthens and tones muscles of the legs and buttocks
- Relieves stress!
So how can you learn to love it? Here some simple steps that will help you enhance your running fitness gradually so that you can learn to love it too!
You Gotta walk before your run! Many people try to dive head first into running by taking off at a million miles an hour from the start, then wonder why they are crouched over huffing and puffing after 5 minutes. The key is to walk before you run. Warm yourself up by starting out with a steady power walk, then introduce some bursts of running, followed by more power walking. This will help you build up your stamina and cardio endurance, plus it will make it more enjoyable. You don’t want to have an awful time of it, otherwise you will be less inclined to do it again the next day.
Slow and steady wins the race! You don’t need to be moving at a race speed to get the benefits of jogging. Jog slower than you think you need to, and possibly even slower than that. This is the best way to start to ease your body into jogging. You may find after a few days of this your body wants to move a little faster, or you might just stick with the slow pace. It doesn’t matter, jogging is jogging, so find the pace that you can work with.
Pace yourself! You may get all kinds of advice and tips on the correct form when it comes to running, but when you are just starting out it can be a little off-putting trying to remember them all. So here is one you can focus on and forget the rest until you become more comfortable with your jogging: aim for 3 steps per second. You might be thinking, “what!? That seems a lot!” But a true second will allow for roughly three steps in a fairly relaxed jogging pace. Once you focus on this rhythm you will find it easier to maintain and gradually you can introduce some of the other tips for form and movement.
Plan your attack! If you want to learn to love jogging, then I suggest you choose a nice place to go jogging at. You might enjoy jogging alongside the road, or you may prefer a specific pathway through a park. The more you enjoy your surroundings, the more likely you are going to enjoy the whole experience.
Don’t be a quitter! Like with everything, jogging becomes easier and more natural, hence more enjoyable, with practice. So set yourself a realistic timeframe for trying it out, before you decide it is not for you. Such as 3- 5 times a week for 3 weeks. After that time frame, your body should be starting to adjust to the experience and you will be finding it a little easier to enjoy!