Jogging is a type of exercise that involved running at a slow pace, usually for an extended period of time. It is considered one of the most effective forms of aerobic exercise and is invaluable for maintaining overall health. However, running does come with a certain amount of risk, like many different types of cardiovascular workouts. Therefore, each individual should know their own limits.
Jogging is meant to increase endurance and, in many cases, is used as a way to build endurance in preparation for other types of sporting activities. Jogging is widely practiced in by nearly all types of professional athletes and is practiced to a lesser extent by many others. In some cases, athletes may prefer to jog as a competition in and of itself.
There are three main types of competitions, mainly differentiated by the running surface. There are track competitions, cross country competitions and road competitions. The most famous of all competitions is most likely the marathon, an extreme test of endurance where joggers run more than 26 miles (25 kilometers). Races on tracks and cross country can be over varying length, usually depending on age or skill level. Cross country is usually run over an uneven surface, such as grass or hard-packed dirt.
The key to jogging is not to max out the jogger's heart rate, but find the right amount of exercise that will result in a healthy heart rate. Often, this is 60 percent to 90 percent of the maximum, depending on the results desired. Maintaining a heart rate closer to 60 percent will achieve weight loss. Pushing the heart rate closer to 90 percent will build more muscle.
The maximum heart rate is normally calculated based on age. There are a number of Internet resources easily accessible that can help every individual find their maximum heart rate and target heart rates. Once they begin running, there are monitors that can keep track of heart rates or individuals can do it themselves by checking their own pulse.
Maintaining a heart rate more than 90 percent is not recommended. This is called pushing the heart into the red zone. Once this happens, the heart cannot pump oxygen into the blood fast enough to satisfy the body's requirements, which will eventually lead to a shut down of systems. While this is usually not a serious health concern, it can quickly cause a cessation of exercise activities, at least until the heart rate subsides. In the most serious cases, this can lead to cardiac arrest, which can be life threatening.
Those who plan on starting a jogging routine should, as with all exercises, first consult a doctor. Don't start too fast or push too hard. Those who go from very little physical activity to an extreme amount are more likely to fall victim to injury. Therefore, any exercise program should begin gradually, with activity increasing along with endurance.