Before you pat yourself on the back for completing that 3-mile jog, ask yourself what you really accomplished. If you are a training for an event that involves running, such as a half-marathon or a triathlon, then jogging does have a place in your workout routine. But, if your goal is to lose fat, stay injury-free and burn maximum calories, jogging is not your best bet. Jogging can have negative effects on the body and isn't right for all women.
Yes, anyone can put on a pair of athletic shoes and go out for a jog -- but jogging is actually an advanced exercise, explains personal trainer and author of the "Female Body Breakthrough," Rachel Cosgrove. Jogging or running produces force on your lower body two to five times your body weight 1,500 times in just one mile. Cosgrove advises avoiding jogging and running unless you are very fit, and even then, going out for just one or two workouts per week. If you have any type of orthopedic problem or experience shortness of breath and chest pain, jogging can exacerbate these issues.
According to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, more than 70 percent of runners will experience injury. These injuries can also occur from jogging and include patellofemoral pain syndrome, or runner's knee, illiotibial band problems, shin splints, Achilles tendinitis and heel pain. The March 2002 issue of "Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Review" noted that knee pain in the form of patellofemoral pain is the most common complaint in female athletes. Jogging puts you at a greater risk of experiencing this injury too. If you are overweight, jogging puts even more mechanical stress on your hips, ankles, knees and back.
One of the primary reasons you exercise is to keep body fat at bay and manage your weight. A jogging regimen is contrary to these goals. Although you get out and burn calories, your body adapts to the exercise and becomes more efficient as you work at a steady state at each and every workout, explains Cosgrove. This means that over time, you don't actually burn as many calories as you'd like during your jogs. Cosgrove goes on to note that your body adapts to the increased energy needs of steady-state jogging by storing more fat for you to use as fuel. She argues that you are better off keeping your body guessing with interval workouts that involve short bouts of high-intensity sprinting followed by equal bouts of rest when you want to maximize weight loss.
Lack of Upper Body Strength
Jogging does get your heart pumping and may build the muscle in your legs, but it neglects the muscles in your arms, shoulder, back and chest. You need a strong upper body to look good in a tank top and, most importantly, to do simple daily tasks such as carrying groceries. A jogging routine can make you too tired to hit the weight room floor to train your upper body, or it may eat up all your exercise time so you simply don't have room in your schedule for a strength-training routine.
- The Female Body Breakthrough; Rachel Cosgrove, BS, CSCS
- Runner's World: Preventing and Treating Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome ("Runner's Knee")
- American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Runners of All Types Prone to Injuries
- Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Review: Patellofemoral Pain in Female Athletes
- Cleveland Clinic: What is the Best Type of Aerobic Exercise?
- Spike Mafford/Photodisc/Getty Images
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