You've mastered an effective walking workout, but now you'd like to amp it up a notch to jogging. How can you transition from a walking workout to a jogging one?
Take It Slow
You won't want to begin jogging right away. Make sure you can do a 30 minute brisk walk fairly easily (if you're not yet at that point, just keep walking daily - you'll get there). Try adding a few minutes daily until you reach 30, or try increasing your speed beyond what you're already doing.
Once you're comfortable with brisk walking, you can transition into a combination walking/jogging workout (called "wogging" in some circles).
A good way to start is by introducing 30-second jogs into your walk. Warm up with a walk for perhaps 5 minutes, then jog for 30 seconds. Then go back to walking until you've regained your breath and energy, and then try another 30 second jog.
You can gradually increase your jogging times to 1 and then 2 minute intervals, until you're jogging exclusively.
This combination of walking and jogging is referred to as interval training by fitness gurus, and it has several health benefits:
- The increased exertion of even a few minutes of running will boost the number of calories you're burning with your workout.
- The extra effort involved in jogging will help strengthen your bones and build your endurance.
- Your cardiac health will benefit as well.
The combination of jogging and walking is also beneficial because different muscle combinations are used for jogging versus walking, thereby reducing your risk of certain repetitive stress injuries.
Although your ultimate goal may be jogging exclusively, it's not a bad idea to continue with a walking-jogging combination. The sprints provided by jogging and the "rests" provided by the walking trains your body to tolerate a variety of respiratory challenges. It's also been documented that exercisers who utilize sprints in their workouts burn more calories than those working out at a steady pace.
Tips for Starting a Walking-Jogging Program
- Invest in a pair of running shoes (they are lighter and absorb shock better than walking shoes).
- Find a workout partner. This will help keep you motivated on those days when you'd rather not exercise.
- Keep a journal. It can be quite motivating to read your entries from the very beginning, and it's a great way to track your progress.
- Work toward a goal. It can be running a marathon, jogging in a local festival 5K, losing 10 pounds or just increasing your muscle versus body fat ratio. Whatever it is, knowing that you're working toward a goal will give you great motivation to keep moving.
Whether you end up running competitively or just enjoy a healthier body, you'll be glad you took the time to walk and jog as a means to greater fitness.