Starting a Walking or Jogging Program
As the weather warms up it is wonderful to see people out on the sidewalks, in the parks and enjoying the wonderful climate we have here on the east coast of North Carolina. Seeing all these people out and about may make you want to join them. But you are not an active person and you have no clue where to start. That is no excuse. These simple programs and tips can get you started in no time.
If you are coming from a sedentary lifestyle, I would suggest you try this easy 13 week walking program, which is broken down into a warm up, exercise, and cool down. The program laid out for each week is to be repeated three times during the week. However, if that is too much for you just get out and walk. Walk at a speed that is above a stroll but still allows you to carry on a conversation. Walk only as far as you are comfortable walking. Then tomorrow you can set another goal to walk a little further.
If you are active and want to take it up a notch, try this 16 week jogging program. You should not start with a jogging program if you are not already meeting your 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week. If you feel comfortable starting a jogging program but this program seems a little more complicated than you want, just go out and jog for a few minutes. Jog until you are out of breath. Then walk until you have fully recovered. Repeat this process. Slowly you will be able to jog longer and recover faster. You may even get to a point where you do not need to recover until you have reached the end of your jog. However, if you never make it there know that many expert runners count on walking breaks for long runs so there is no shame in not pushing your body past its limits.
The most important thing to keep in mind when starting a physical activity program of any kind is to listen to your body. If your body does not want to do something, there is no need to push it. Being physically active is not easy and may not always feel good, but if at any time you experience a lot of pain stop, rest, take a break. Once you have evaluated the situation, you can decide if you are able to finish the workout or if you need to come back to it another day. Those who are new to physical activity often overdo it in the beginning and feel they will never be able to be active. Everyone’s body is different, so take your time and build up to an activity level that is comfortable for you.
Now that you are a pedestrian, it is important that you remember the rules of the road and follow these safety tips:
Rules of the Road
Face traffic: If you are walking on the road always face on-coming traffic.
Use the buddy system: If you can, walk with someone. If you do not have someone to walk with make sure that someone knows your route and what time you expect to return.
Keep right: If you are using a pedestrian path, walk on the right side so the faster walker, runners and cyclists can pass.
Walk defensively: Do not assume that everyone follows the “pedestrians have the right-of-way” rule. Always be mindful of your surroundings.
Stay alert: If you listen to an iPod or some other type of device be aware of your surroundings. Keep the volume low enough to hear the noise around you or leave an ear uncovered by your headphones.
Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during and after your walk.
Dress for the conditions: Wear shoes that fit well. Choose breathable fabrics and dress in layers to help maintain proper body temperature. When it is dark, wear reflective clothing. Remember to cover your hands, ears and head in the cold weather.
For more information on physical activity, healthy eating, and dieting please contact Olivia Jones at N.C. Cooperative Extension, Currituck County Center 232-2261 or email Olivia_jones@ncsu.edu.