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If you want to get fit, then jogging is possibly one of the easiest exercise forms you can find. You can do it almost anywhere, alone or in a group, and the costs are low. And it can be fun, too.

What is jogging? It's a form of light running where the object is to get your heart rate to 70-80% of your maximum pulse1 for at least 20 minutes. That's it. It's all for your own health, pleasure and well-being. There are no competitions, and the only person you compare against is yourself. Of course, if you do it right it can be a fun social event as well.

If you have thought that jogging might be something for you there are a few things you need to think about first to make sure you are fit enough. Has your GP said that you shouldn't excercise? Do you have chronic pain in your legs? Do you have problems walking? If the answer is "yes" to any of those questions you should go and have another talk with your GP and ask for advice for how to start excercising. Otherwise, do this simple test. Put on a pair of comfortable shoes and see if you can walk briskly for 45 minutes. If that is too much, then you have to build up your stamina. A good way is:

  1. Walk briskly for as long as you can and time it. This is your excercise time.
  2. Take three brisk walks per week, each the time of your excercise time.
  3. Each week increase your time with 10-20%
  4. As long as this is less than 45 minutes, go back to step 2.
  5. Continue this for 1 more week without increasing the time.
Now you're ready for the next step.

To start jogging you need only a few things. The most important piece of equipment is your shoes. They will protect your body from unecessary injury, so don't skimp on them. Go to a specialist running shop and tell them that you need good shoes for jogging. They should then help you choose a suitable pair by observing you running. This is usually done using a treadmill and a video camera. If you don't get that level of help they focus on their own profit margins and not your needs. In that case go to another shop! There is one more piece of important equipment, but only if you're a woman. That is a good sports bra. I've been told that it is as important as the shoes, but finding one that fits is much more difficult. I guess if they want to video film your bra fitting you're in the wrong shop, too. Apart from that you need comfortable clothes. In the beginning the most important is that you feel comfortable in them, so keep in mind that they shouldn't let you get too warm or cold. Oh, and fuck fashion.

Now you can start jogging for about 30 minutes at a time. After a quick warm-up2 that is. If you do it alone or with a friend is a question of taste, but doing it with a friend often makes it easier to keep the motivation going, since it's more difficult to postpone your jogging session. It can also be a good way of making sure that you don't jog too hard. You should be able to keep a relaxed conversation going. If you're getting out of breath you're running too hard and need to slow down, and even walk if necessary. For some people joining a local running club is what is needed to do the jogging regularly. Try what suits you best. As you feel that 30 minutes is easily achievable you can slowly increase the time to approximately 45 minutes. If you combine this with some light strength excercise, like crunches and push-ups, 3-4 times per week you will soon be a fit and rather toned person, and it will increase your energy and stamina in all parts of life. If you remember to stretch you will be agile as well. Just imagine what your partner will think about that...

That is really all there is to jogging. Of course there are further things you can do. For example you can see if you would like to start running races, like a 10k race, or a half or full marathon. If that is your target you need more specialized training programs, but most of the principles of jogging still apply. You can also see if there is a local Hash House Harriers club near you, if you are more focused on the social aspect. Whatever you do, though, have fun!

1 Unless you have been tested under specialist supervision, the maximium heart rate is a theoretical value that is defined as your age in years subtracted from 220. So if you are 25 the max pulse is 195. The recommended jogging heart rate is then 135-155.

2 A quick warm-up can be simulated rope skipping for 1 minute or running up and down the stairs a couple of times. You could also start by walking briskly for 3-4 minutes before jogging.


Sources:

  • http://www.englishsport.com/jogging/
  • http://running.about.com/mbody.htm
  • http://www.coolrunning.com/
  • http://www.gthhh.com/

Long ago, I used to have abs. But I was skinny. Then I joined a gym, started drinking protein shakes, bulked up (my pecs were large enough that a girlfriend used to tease me for having bigger boobs than her) and unfortunately, got a paunch. I quit working out a while ago, other than the occasional month of consistent pushups. And even though I am not muscular anymore, I still have a slight paunch. It is only visible when I've had a big meal or I am not wearing a shirt. I am vain enough to determine to get rid of it. Part of the determination is due to having free time. Moving to Abuja from Kaduna, I live alone without family constraints. So my time is virtually all mine. I had initially planned to join a gym because I really enjoy lifting weights and working out. However, I decided to defer registration for 2 reasons:

1. It will be Ramadan by April. Ramadan is the month in the Islamic calendar where Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. If I start working out now, any progress I make will be lost during fasting because I lose weight easily. I cannot work out, or rather, I do not want to work out during the fasting month because during the day I will be too weak and after eating, I will be too full.

2. I decided to lose my paunch first before joining the gym. When I was lithe and sexy, I used to quietly snigger at the paunches of men who would join gyms to lose weight. They would spend so much time doing crunches and sit-ups and then slowly stop coming when they do not look like underwear models after 1 month. I do not want to be those men in case there are sniggerers like me. Also, most of my reading about weight loss says that losing belly fat is best done through cardio.

So, in pursuit of abs, I have been jogging semi-regularly since November 2020. I would have preferred saying I was running except that I think of running as going at full speed, like what the characters in Temple Run do. Also, I have never experienced anything similar to the stuff described in this node. When on the road and if I start feeling sick or get an ache, I stop. My pace is measured, although I have improved significantly because the distance I used to cover in an hour, I now do in 30 minutes. So I have been increasing the distance.

The most difficult thing for me is the discipline to do it regularly. I tell myself that I would jog every other day, but then I would jog for just 1 day in 1 week and then 5 days in another. 1 reason why I fail to keep to my schedule is sex. I tell myself that vigorous sex is good exercise and I further tell myself that I do it vigorously. So, when I have sex, I do not go jogging. And despite what I tell myself, I know I am not so young and strong now. So, I take an additional day to recuperate from my activities. And before you know it, the week is half gone.

Another discipline issue is that on some days, I just do not feel like doing the exercise. I force myself to go out and I just cannot motivate myself to keep jogging. So, I walk. And I feel like a failure. Because even if I walk the same distance that I would normally jog, I feel it is not the same thing. In fact, I only feel really accomplished when I jog the entire distance. In addition, I like the way my thighs feel pumped and my calves ache after the run, I would have to walk a significantly longer distance to get the same feeling. That is the only runner's high I have ever felt. The run itself is always hard work and when I am going up a slope, I have to keep talking myself into putting another foot forward and into remembering that going down is easier.

A third thing that I find difficult is the timing of the jog. I prefer to go early in the morning, say 5am; because there are fewer people about. I like going out that early because there are fewer cars, and that makes me feel safer, less chance of someone losing control and hitting me or even doing it deliberately. There are fewer people, either going to work or also exercising, so I can run without having to dodge anyone or be otherwise conscious of other road users. Thus, if I cannot go out early, I just do not go. Recently, I started going out earlier and earlier. This morning, I went out at 3am and jogged till 4.30am. There was a time that if I had to drive to another city (I shuttled a lot between Jos, Kaduna, Kano and Katsina), I would not leave until say 11pm or 12am. I enjoyed those night drives because there was no police harassment and fewer cars on the road. And driving through the small towns and villages on the route was faster because nobody was about. I do not do that anymore because of nationwide insecurity and because my work does not require it. Now, being in Abuja, with its wide, well lit streets and their equally generous sidewalks, I feel safe despite the timing. I would not do that in Kaduna, partly because everyone would nag me no end about the dangers of going out at that time. While acknowledging the serious insecurity issue in my country, I am also foolhardy enough to think nothing can happen to me. Also, the knowledge of the differences between the realities of men and women got really reinforced. A woman doing what I am doing is at real risk of harassment, assault or rape. Possibly even by the police.

Jogging on the road is in a way much easier than on a treadmill. I just choose a road and decide to go to its end and find another way back. It is easier to run a route that I am unfamiliar with and whose length I do not know. I do not measure the distance because fitbits are for pussies, poseurs and those whose motivation is tainted by the current culture of broadcasting the minutae of one's life in the mistaken belief that such stuff is interesting. I suppose people are interested otherwise the thing would not be so prevalent, but, I said what I said. I know such information can by useful first for motivating oneself (and possibly others) and second, the importance of data analytics. But I am just concerned with my run, and when I want to go long or hard, I just keep going. I do not need to know how far I have gone or the calories I have burnt or my cadence or any other thing. 1 of the advantages of a treadmill is that one can see information about one's run. I think those advantages are negated by the boredom of that mode. If I need to know the length of my route, I can always use the car's odometer.

Robert Kiyosaki in Rich Dad, Poor Dad said that 1 reason he liked jogging was that it enabled him get information about real estate opportunities in his area. Considering I have lost money in practically all my real estate ventures, I have not benefited from that nugget. The most interesting thing I have observed in the early morning is 2 clubs that seem to be active every night of the week. I have never been a clubber but I am attracted to one of them because it seems play music nice music and it is in a respectable looking mall type building. The other one seems rather seedy and I imagine the people there would be cheap, skanky, tough and have pidgin English as their default tongue. Pidgin is a big turn off for me when girls speak it.

Another thing I have observed or become more aware of is the number of uncovered grates and manholes on the road. When driving, one is careful of them because they could seriously damage one's car. When on foot, the danger is even more, because putting a foot into 1 of them could lead to a serious fracture. The lack of covers could be due to either the contractor not putting them in during construction as a way to cut costs or people just stealing them and selling them for scrap. Both scenarios are plausible.

It is possible that were I to join the gym, I would stop running because there would be a swimming pool. I would swim instead. And if I choose to keep running, I would do it even more sporadically than I do now.

Jog"ging (?), n.

The act of giving a jog or jogs; traveling at a jog.

 

© Webster 1913.

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