Feel Younger and Energized — Take Up Jogging
By Leah Lancione

     Some may think jogging is only for the young and uber-energetic, but it’s not true. There are many men and women who jog or run all the way through their “golden” years. According to the American Physical Therapy Association’s publication For the Young at Heart: Exercise Tips for Seniors, no matter what your biological age, regular exercise results in increased energy and self-esteem, improved muscle tone and greater functioning of important organs and joints. The publication also declares that “the effects of certain chronic diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and osteoporosis, can also be reduced by engaging in regular exercise.”

     If you want to revamp your exercise routine, or want to embark upon a new one, consider jogging and walking, since it’s known to improve the functions of the cardiopulmonary respiratory system. Just be sure to visit your physician before starting any workout regimen. The physician will examine you to ensure you are fit to go. Undoubtedly, the doctor will also perform a stress test to monitor your heart.
The next thing you will want to do is buy proper running shoes and apparel. A combination of factors will help decide on the type of shoe: the structure of your feet; how you step, e.g., whether you are an over-pronator (flat feet) or under-pronator (high arches, and your personal preferences of comfort level, price and appearance. You may even need to buy heel cups or special inserts to guarantee that you’ll put your best foot forward when you begin jogging. If you visit a store such as Fleet Feet Sports in Annapolis www. fleetfeetannapolis.com that specializes in running apparel and gear, the salesperson will be knowledgeable about all these specifications. Typically they’re runners themselves. They’ll help with the proper fit and provide you with a host of styles to try on before purchasing. Fleet Feet even let my marathon friend Cindy run around the block to ensure that it was a comfortable fit before purchasing.
     As far as clothing is concerned, the best advice is to wear breathable fabric and to dress in layers according to the weather. You don’t need anything fancy, although some folks enjoy decking themselves out in “I’m a jogger” outfits in which everything coordinates. Others take the more frugal approach and run in sweats or comfortable pants or shorts and a T-shirt. Under Armor is great to wear underneath garments on cold days. A good pair of socks is a good idea too.
     Now, as for the routine. In the beginning, start out by walking at a normal pace to warm up and then ease into a speed walk. Gradually work up to a jog over time. Try to walk and jog at least three days a week for 30 minutes and when first starting, jog for only five minutes of the 30. Then work up to 10 minutes and so on. Before you know it, you’ll be jogging the whole time. By gradually getting your body used to this new aerobic activity you’ll reduce the chance of injury.
     Just remember the idea is to get your heart rate going, but you never want to overdo it by getting to the point where you’re panting or out of breath. A good test to determine if your pace is appropriate is to make sure you can still talk comfortably while jogging.
     As you are transforming yourself into a jogger, keep it fun and stimulating so you don’t get burned out or bored. Try running with a friend, jogging outdoors, continually changing the playlist on your MP3 player or changing your route.
     Web MD at www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/workout-routines-ideas suggests challenging yourself to join a charity run to spice up your jogs. Also set goals and rewards for yourself. For instance, if you commit to jog for 15 minutes of your 30-minute routine for a week and then meet the goal, treat yourself to a massage or something else that will relax you and those working muscles! Web MD instructs everyone that the “goal is to establish a healthy, pleasant exercise routine, intermingling challenging activities with peaceful and relaxing mind/body experiences.” You won’t regret improving both your mind, spirit and body. It keeps you feeling younger and energized.
Leah has been an avid jogger and exercise enthusiast for nearly 15 years, and hopes to compete in the Rock-n-Roll half marathon in Virginia Beach in the fall. She can be reached at [email protected]

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