Once upon a time, life was easy. You put on your favourite running shoes, grabbed a towel, went out for a jog and returned home feeling fit, satisfied and maybe even a little smug because you saw your effort as insurance for a healthier future.
These days, “simple runs” are almost anachronisms because activities classified as track and field sports now list multiple, specific categories. Making a choice isn’t easy, but if you pick the one that’s right for your body, it could carry you nicely into your senior years with just a few modifications along the way!
The word “power” adds credibility to what Prevention magazine calls the exercise so loaded with benefits, hundreds of studies conducted on the topic haven’t revealed a single down side! Speed walking blasts fat as impressively as jogging, it’s very kind to joints and this type of exercise rarely results in injuries compared to other motion activities.
You’ll need roomy, flexible walking shoes for endurance, and your initial goal should be power walking at about 4.5 miles (or 7.2 km) per hour, a distance determined by Washington University at St. Louis experts. If you’re not already fit, ease into this sport by starting out with four 20-minute walks per week.
Increase your power walk by around 10-percent weekly and don’t make the mistake of charging off without warming up and stretching first! The standard power walking technique consists of rolling the heel to the ball of the foot and then the toe. This can look awkward at first, but you’ll get used to it. Hold your chin up for maximum results, swing your fists and if you can tighten your butt and your abdominal muscles as you stride, you’ll improve your posture as you support your spine.
Learn more about power walking to perfect your technique, but you couldn’t find an easier, more beneficial activity if you wanted to—especially if you’re out of condition, elderly, have weight issues or you are recovering from injuries.
Sounds like a no-brainer: Lace up your shoes and just start jogging. Not so fast, newbie. This style of running is far from simplistic! Treat your jog as a casual experience and you invite injury that gets into your head and could leave you feeling too discouraged to try again.
On the other hand, be respectful of this type of running by following recommendations on IamNotObese.com to obtain all of the detailed jogging information you need to have fun and stay injury free, but here’s a taste to get you started:
- First, stretch and warm up for five minutes before your foot lands on the ground for the first time and then focus on your form. Start with short strides. Feel the middle portion of your sole transfer weight to the heel—and then toe—as you relax your body and look straight ahead. Unlike power walking, no clenched fists, please. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth for maximum oxygen intake.
- Next when you start out, allow your body to adjust to escalating tempos by alternating two minutes of jogging with five minutes of walking until you can jog 20 minutes without a break. Wear comfortable clothes and ease into your routine, particularly if your age or health are concerns, which is why it’s always good to get your doctor’s approval before you buy those jogging shoes.
- Once you master your form, pay attention to hydration, how your body reacts to distance increases and always take at least one day off during the week to rest your muscles!
We certainly think running is “an art”, that can be put into creative visual. We know what you’re thinking: But, it’s just running! Au contraire.
In fact, eclectic resources like Wikipedia offer an eye-opening history that chronicles the evolution of first running steps taken by Australopithecus when he stood upright on two legs to anthropological proof that running may have been all that separated early man from being eaten by prehistoric beasts!
Competitive running first took place at religious festivals in Greece, Egypt, Asia and Africa, though Greek Olympics circa 776BC are usually cited as a benchmark. Contemporary running techniques have been refined and improved over time thanks to physiologists researching postures, strides and techniques necessary to engage in this sport for purposes ranging from staying healthy and fit to competitive advantages.
Given such universal appeal, running is represented at all ages and stages of life: From playground-running toddlers to school-age track stars and from adult athletes seeking personal bests to seniors engaging in age-appropriate running activities. Even physically challenged people of all ages find places on today’s running scene.
Confused about how to go about differentiating running from jogging? Australia’s Better Health Channel explanation can help:
“The difference between running and jogging is intensity. Running is faster, uses more kilojoules and demands more effort from the heart, lungs and muscles than jogging. Running requires a higher level of overall fitness than jogging.”
Go to Cambridge Dictionaries online if you’re unsure about the definition of sprinting and you’ll discover this succinct explanation: “Run as fast you can over a short distance, either in a race or because you are in a great hurry to get somewhere.”
Where does this fit in the universe of running styles? We consulted Fitday.com to clarify the difference between sprinting and other types of running on your behalf and here’s what we learned:
First, if your goal is fat burning and you undertake sprint training instead of jogging because you expect to burn more calories, you’re in for a surprise. Burn 200 calories in 2.5 minutes by sprinting, but if you jog for 15 minutes, you’d burn 1,200 calories!
So why sprint? Because it makes a terrific “interval” break for athletes seeking to increase bone strength and density, build new muscle tissue and train the body to store oxygen more efficiently. Sprinting takes a run down to the cellular level; muscle receives more energy because the size of mitochondria—cell parts that store energy—increases. Stopping and starting are particularly beneficial to runners for improved agility. Should you recommend sprinting to your Mum? That depends on how young she is and the state of her current physique!
To Run Or To Walk
Is your brain weary? It’s not easy to cover the finer points of running in one article but we’re happy to do it for you, as long as you pay us back by answering this question: What did you learn from this tutorial that you plan to put into practice and perhaps share with your fellow runners?