If you are starting on your weight loss routine, jogging around can definitely jumpstart your body into burning calories. It is also very easy to do, no need to follow complicated exercise videos. All you need to do is lace up your shoes and head outdoors.
However, like with any other exercise, jogging does have its share of risks. You need to be knowledgeable enough and prepare yourself in order to avoid injuries and accidents.
Check if jogging is right for you
Although all people can benefit form jogging, not everybody would feel good about it especially those who have been suffering from a bad back, sore knees, or other chronic injuries that would worsen with the pounding and sudden pressure on your leg caused by jogging. If that is the case, find an activity that would be less stressful and straining for you.
Consult with your physician first
Before starting your jogging program, talk to your physician especially if you have an underlying medical condition. He may suggest a stress test so that your physical condition is evaluated and can offer helpful advice on how to cope with your condition as you jog.
Warm up before jogging
Stretching your leg muscles before jogging can greatly decrease your risk of injury such as muscle pulls, strains, and sprains. Extend your one leg forward and place your heels either a few inches in front of you or on an elevated platform like a chair.
Then, bend a little forward until you can feel the stretch on your back thigh and calf muscles. Do this for about a minute before switching to the other leg. You can also march in place for a minute, slowly hastening your speed until you are jogging in place.
Stretching and loosening your muscles increases blood flow while decreasing their tension as well as improving your range of motion and performance.
Observe how your body feels
Pain is a common occurrence after a round of jogging, which can be treated with stretching and strengthening your affected muscles. However, sharp pain lasting longer than 30 minutes after your jog can be harmful.
This puts you on alert in any signs of muscle pull or a more serious injury such as broken ankle. You can also reduce your jogging speed and mileage on your next session. For more serious cases, such as painful joints and ankles, consult with your doctor.
Treat your injuries properly
Treat hamstring pains and other injuries with the RICE method. R stands for Rest, I is for Ice (placing ice bag over the injured area), C means Compression (binding your affected muscles with tension bands), and E for Elevation (raising your injured leg several inches above the ground). Stretch your treated muscles once recovered to prevent further injury.
Choose the right shoes
Well-fitted jogging shoes should have your heel snug and would not excessively slide up or down. There should also be about half-an-inch between the end of your longest toe and the tip of the toe box. You should also consider the shoes’ support, comfort, durability, and control. Check the soles from time to time for signs of wear and tear.
Do not end your jog suddenly. This would only increase your chances of having cramps later on. Cool down by slowing your pace into a walking state. Aside from lowering the level of lactic acid in your body, which primarily causes cramps, cooling down also allows your heart to return to its resting state.
Make jogging a habit
Jogging more often, preferably three times a week at 30 minutes per session, maximizes your aerobic and conditioning benefits. Jogging only once a week, no matter how strenuous it may be, actually puts you at risk of injury.