Even if you've only taken up jogging to enjoy a few minutes out of the house each day for some peace and quiet, you're doing more for yourself than just clearing your mind. Jogging is one of the best ways you can boost your circulation, which offers a long list of benefits throughout your body.
One of the simplest reasons to take up jogging is that it's a low-maintenance exercise; you don't need a pile of fancy equipment, nor do you have to hand over big bucks each month for a gym membership. Whether you're jogging around your neighborhood before going to work each morning or meeting a group of friends and running down a forest path, jogging helps you burn calories, boost circulation, tone your muscles and regulate your mood through the release of endorphins.
An aerobic exercise, such as jogging, increases your heart rate. Other aerobic exercises include cycling, in-line skating and swimming. Exercises such as weightlifting aren't aerobic, as they don't elevate your heart rate to the same extent as jogging. During aerobic exercise, your heart beats harder, which pumps more blood throughout your body. Many people describe an aerobic workout as one that "gets the blood pumping."
Although your heart beats even when you're inactive, it's not providing full benefits to your body until you've elevated its rate. When you get your heart rate up and boost your circulation, your blood will carry vital oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, even to the smallest capillaries in your extremities. In addition to providing oxygen, your blood also carries the carbon dioxide you create to your lungs so you can exhale it. With increased circulation, your body receives a number of benefits that you won't get through a more sedentary lifestyle. When you have low or poor circulation, you'll often encounter symptoms such as a lack of mental clarity, numbness and pain. Improving your circulation helps lower your blood pressure, lessen your risk of heart disease and remove waste from your body.
An effective way to determine how much jogging has boosted your heart rate is to take your pulse before jogging, and then do so again during or immediately following your jog. If you run on a treadmill, many are equipped with handles that will take and display your heart rate. If not, place two fingers on the inside of your opposite wrist, below the thumb, until you feel a pulse. Count the number of beats you feel in one minute; this is your heart rate. During exercise, your heart beats harder, thus increasing your circulation. After you finish your jog, take your pulse again and note how much higher it is.
- MedicineNet.com: Running (Jogging)
- The Franklin Institute: Kinds of Physical Exercise
- NutriStrategy: Calories Burned During Exercise, Activities, Sports and Work
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: What is the Heart?
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: Circulation Station
- NaturalNews.com: Boosting Circulation can Benefit the Entire Body
- American Heart Association: Exercise and Cardiovascular Health
- University of Georgia: How to Take Your Heart Rate (or Pulse)
- Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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