The temperature is dropping, the air is fresh (well, most of it), and you’ve been in the house for a really, really long time (for a good reason, but still). So it seems to you that it’s time for some jogging!
Do you need a run-down of all the ways jogging is good for you? No, you don’t because you’re already decided to go jogging. You’ve got your shoes on and earbuds in, and you are ready. But hold your horses there! You can’t just go for a good exercise run right out the gate! I mean, you could. But if you’re just getting started on this whole “exercise” thing, starting with a mile run isn’t good for you in the long run (the pun wasn’t intended, but let’s just pretend it was because it was a good one).
So, how should you start? And just as importantly, how should you end?
Squats are perhaps one of the easier exercises to jump right into, and they’re important for stretching the thigh muscles and making sure your knees don’t give out. They are performed by attempting to sit in an imaginary chair, lowering yourself until the point where the seat would be (where the thighs are horizontal with the ground), realizing it isn’t there, and standing back up.
Keep doing this until your legs are good and warmed up, but stop before you want a real, physical chair. You still need to be able to jog after the warm-up.
Side lunges not only train those leg muscles, glutes, and whatnot, but they also focus your balance. You might see yourself as a champion of balance, as you’ve walked most of your life and have only fallen over a few times. But keeping your weight distributed evenly serves as a well-rounded exercise well.
Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Do a side-lunge by taking a wide step to one side and by leaning to that side while pushing your hips back. Bend that side’s knee until it gets to a 45-degree angle, hold it there for 3 to 5 seconds, then stand back up. Do the other side, and stand back up. We would say give it ten good reps on each side for a good warmup.
Make sure you remember to kickstart your cardio and run your leg muscles hot by doing some leg lifts! Imagine you’re jogging in slow motion. Take turns lifting each leg as high as you can while bending the knee and hold it a second or two before you bring it back down, taking deep breaths as you do. You don’t have to do it for long, maybe a minute or two.
So you’ve done your warmups, and you’ve run off into the wild green yonder with some upbeat tunes blasting in your head. Now you’re back home, and you’re dripping with sweat. How are you supposed to get anything done when you’re still in sweat mode? You cool off!
As a cool down to all that jogging movement, you need to keep the movement going before you can finally stop moving. So, on the final stretch home, it might be a good idea to slow it down to a walk and simply enjoy the atmosphere. You might want to shake out your arms to do some neck stretches as you do.
At this point, after a good jog, your muscles are tense because they’ve been doing a lot for you. Time to give them a massage, which is what stretching is to the thighs, in a sense. There are a few stretches you can do, but we’re going to focus on the quad stretch.
To do a quad stretch, lean against the wall on one side. From there, use the hand on your other side, and grab your ankle, bringing your foot up and behind you until your heel touches your backside. Hold that pose for 30 to 40 seconds, then do the other side. We also suggest doing this while you do some slow breathing, breathing in for four seconds and then exhaling for seven seconds.
Drink Lots of Water
Think of how much water you’re planning to drink, then drink more than that. Hydration is vital, literally. During warmups, at intervals while jogging, and during cooldowns, drink a lot of water because your body has been sweating and working hard. By sufficiently hydrating, you can help to prevent cramps and other issues that sometimes plague joggers.
Now go out and enjoy this beautiful weather with an energizing and revitalizing jog!