Anyone Can Jog
Jogging is an effective way to burn calories and build cardiovascular endurance. It's good for your heart and it's good for your overall health. It's also low-tech and inexpensive. Sometimes jogging can provide you with more health and fitness benefits than a fancy gym workout.
What is Jogging?
Jogging is a type of trotting that's meant to increase your fitness levels. It has also been described as slow running. Jogging puts less stress on the body than running.
The now deceased Dr. George Sheehan, a Brooklyn-born author who wrote extensively on the sport of running, said "the difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry blank," suggesting that the two are the same except for the way they start.
Mike Antoniades, founder and Coaching Director of Sports Dimensions and the Running School, provides a more specific definition of jogging. He describes it as running slower than six miles per hour. Further broken down, this would mean anyone running slower than ten-minute mile or 6.2 kilometer would be considered jogging.
The Proper Way to Jog
There's a right way and a wrong way to jog. The problem is that too many people jog the wrong way and hurt themselves, which feeds into the impression that only the elite fit can or should jog.
Here are some mistakes to avoid, according to Mike Antoniades.
· Excessive bouncing. This puts too much strain on the joints.
· Not using the arms. Your arms shouldn't be hanging uselessly at your sides.
· Over striding. Once again, this puts unnecessary strain on the body.
· Jogging slower than you can walk. What's the point of jogging then?
· Leaning forward. The head and upper body should not be bent forward unless you're doing a sprint.
· Twisting the midriff from side to side. You can hurt your lower back doing this.
· Landing on your feet too heavily. This causes unnecessary pressure on the joints.
Fix Your Technique
Many recreational runners, especially those who are just beginning, make the mistakes mentioned above. It's best to stop these mistakes as soon as possible to prevent injury.
You need to run on the balls of your feet. This creates a breaking motion that will help reduce damage to your joints, ankles and hips. You should strike your running surface with your toes pointing forwards, not downwards in what's called a dorsiflexed position. The heel should not touch the ground.
When your foot hits the ground or running surface, it should land lightly and then lightly grip and scrape the surface as it goes up again. Your knee needs to remain slightly bent. Antoniades says, "Think of your leg working in a circular motion from the hip joint."
There should be minimal side to side movement of the hips and the back should be relaxed, yet straight. Do not tense up your shoulders and keep them away from your ears. Hold your head up and look straight ahead and not down at your feet.
Correct arm form has a lot to do with proper jogging form. In addition to relaxed shoulders, you should keep your arms bent at 90 degrees. Your arms need to move back and forth with each step, but the motion needs to come from your shoulder not your forearms.
As your arm moves back, it needs to stay flexed at 90 degrees. Do not face the palms down. Instead make sure your hands are facing inwards. It's okay to hold your hands in a fist. Just make sure the fist isn't too tight and don't shove your thumb between your fingers. Rest it comfortably on the forefinger.
If you're starting out, it's important to make sure you give your tendons, joints and ligaments time to recover. It's a good idea to rest one day between jogging workouts.
Don't forget the importance of stretching before and after a jog.