Column 35 - Jogging

Original publication date: May 2, 1984

I'm finally doing it. I'm writing a column about jogging. Many people have wondered why I've avoided jogging, considering I teach a fitness class that involves at least 12 to 15 minutes of aerobics, including a lot of jogging.

Several years ago when I was a full-fledged member at the Waterloo Y, I began to jog on the track. I was exhausted and had pains in my side before I had finished 10 laps. I didn't smoke so I couldn't blame my poor aerobic capabilities on that. I had, however, just had a baby a few months before. I was astounded at the poor condition my heart and lungs were in. I then knew it was going to be a long, hard climb before I could join a jogging club without cardiac arrest.

Because I was also a dedicated member of many of the Y's fitness classes I felt that peer pressure to excel and jog well enough to keep up with the more serious joggers who were in the classes. It worked. I should say, I worked. I worked hard for several months building up my endurance by jogging on my own at night, either at the Y or from our home. I loved the feeling I got coming home dripping with sweat and determination to go farther the next time.

Then it soured. I felt guilty every time I couldn't get out to jog, because of the kids, or anything else. The better shape I was in, the farther I wanted to jog. The farther I jogged, the more bored I got. Without a steady partner to jog with, it didn't take long for other things to take precedence. I turned to skipping because I could do it for a less amount of time (getting the same cardiovascular benefits) and I didn't need a partner.

Last week, Kate Redmond of the K-W Women's Running Club put jogging back into the forefront with a letter describing the events surrounding the annual May-Ten-Kay women's race. The K-W Women's Running Club has been organizing the race since 1980, trying to provide a "supportive and non-competitive atmosphere for beginning women joggers and runners." This year the race is held on Sunday May 6th starting from the Waterloo Y.

If you're up to the race, that is if you are healthy and have jogged before, you'll benefit tremendously from jogging for about the hour it will take to finish the race. You could burn 500 calories if you jog five miles an hour. (The race is 10-kilometers, which is just over six miles.) Jogging produces cardiac hypertrophy (enlargement of the heart) resulting in a larger, stronger, more efficient pump for your cardiovascular system; it can provide increased strength of the respiratory muscles; increased oxygen intake resulting in better utilization of oxygen; a reduction of flab around the hips, buttocks, and thighs.

You'll have to know how to jog properly before you should attempt a jog of any distance. Wear proper jogging shoes, comfortable clothing, and most importantly warm your body up before any jog, to avoid unnecessary shin or knee injuries. While jogging, keep in an upright position, your head high, and arms swinging with relaxed, but bent elbows, at your hips. Land on your heels first and rock forward to drive off your toes. Keep your stride short and make sure the horizon ahead is steady. You shouldn't be bobbing up and down or side to side. Keep your whole body relaxed and loose; loose enough that you are able to carry on a conversation while jogging. If you cannot talk, you're overexerting yourself and heading for trouble.

According to Dr. Kenneth Cooper, world renowned fitness researcher, jogging 11 miles a week satisfies most of the requirements of a cardiovascular conditioning program.

Copyright 2021 K.L. McCluskey, all rights reserved.