Regular cardiovascular exercise is essential for your health, fitness and weight control. When exercising you have numerous options to choose from based on your fitness level, physical ability and goals. Jogging is one of many great options, but is not the only one or the most important. However, jogging can be done anywhere with very little equipment or training to improve your cardiovascular fitness.
What Is Cardiovascular Fitness?
Cardiovascular fitness is often used in place of aerobic fitness and cardiovascular endurance. Aerobic fitness refers to the capacity to perform aerobic activities for a prolonged period, and is affected by your cardiovascular endurance and aerobic capacity. The American College of Sports Medicine defines endurance as the ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to supply fuel during sustained activity, and to eliminate fatigue products after supplying fuel.
Importance of Jogging
Jogging is a moderate to high intensity activity, depending on your ability, and requires you to have good cardiovascular endurance. It is considered high impact because both of your feet will leave the ground at one time during the motion. However, jogging is slower than running so is not considered as high in intensity as running. A regular jogging program, over time, will improve your aerobic capacity, circulation, endurance and fitness level.
Starting a Jogging Program
Before you even consider jogging, you had better be walking. You should be able to walk at least 30 minutes three or more days per week at a moderate to vigorous pace. If you can't walk for 10 minutes, you certainly won't be able to jog. It's harder on your cardiovascular system and your body. Once you build up your endurance walking, start adding short jogging spurts of 10 to 30 seconds at a time. Between each jogging interval, walk at a brisk pace. Repeat this for 20 to 30 minutes. Slowly increase the time you jog, while decreasing your walk time. In about two to three months you will easily be able to jog for 20 to 30 minutes straight.
Jogging is a proven method for improving and maintaining cardiovascular fitness. But it may not be the best choice for you. Speak with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. She may not approve of jogging because of medical or orthopedic conditions that you have. Often those with ongoing joint issues or cardio or respiratory issues need to modify their training. Once you have cleared jogging with your doctor, then begin slowly incorporating it to improve your cardiovascular fitness.
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- ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription; American College of Sports Medicine
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