JOGGING FOR EXERCISE

Donald Daniel, Feb 2010, revised Feb 2017

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At age 68, 20 pounds overweight, I found myself loosing strength and stamina at an alarming rate as a result of the aging process. I decided to start jogging to get in shape. I was already doing a leisurely one mile walk every day. I had run for exercise when I was young, but it had been decades since then. The running gave me more physical stamina, which I expected. More importantly, it gave me more mental energy, which was a big surprise.

I tried to jog the same mile that I had already been walking every day. I could only jog 50 yards, then was so out of breath that I needed to walk 100 yards to catch my breath enough to jog another 50 yards. I kept this up for the whole mile. After about a month of this jogging/walking routine I could do a very slow jog for the whole mile without any walking. After about six months I could jog a 10.4 minute mile on a good day. Quite a contrast to the seven minute miles I could do when I was young. But I felt better, slept better and had more stamina. I did not loose any weight, though.

I did not get running shoes until about the third month. I should have got them first. They are especially useful on hard surfaces.

After I got in shape, I burned enough energy that I needed less clothing to run. I increased my distance to about 1.5 miles. In warm weather it is essential to get up early and run at the coolest time of day, preferably before the sun comes up. In warm weather tennis shorts and no shirt are enough. The best way to get suitable shorts is to take pants to an alterations shop and have them cut and hemmed to a 4in/10cm inseam or longer if necessary to cover the pockets hanging down from the inside. A light weight long sleeve dress shirt makes it feel hotter by an increment of 20F/11C. In warm weather ladies should run in shorts and a halter top. When it gets as cool as 50F/10.0C it will be comfortable with shorts, a long sleeve cotton dress shirt and no undershirt. The ideal temperature to run dressed this way is 38F/3.3C, but at this temperature and below gloves should be worn. Colder still, add wool cap that pulls over the ears. When the temperature is 32 degrees F, 0 degrees C, I sometimes wear pants, cotton/polyester long sleeved shirt with no undershirt, a windbreaker jacket with no insulation, a wool cap that I can pull over my ears, and leather driving gloves. It is almost too hot to run dressed this way at 32F/0C with no wind, but very approriate if there is a stiff wind. The ideal temperature to run dressed this way with no wind and the sun shining is 18F/-7.7C. The main problem with running in freezing weather is dangerously slippery surfaces. You do not want to risk a fall by running across a patch of ice. If you come to a patch of ice, quit jogging and carefully walk across it.

The previous paragraph specified cold weather clothing for a 1.5 mile run. But if you only run 0.5 miles, warmer clothing will be appropriate. In 40F weather you would run in pants, shirt and windbreaker jacket.

I took glucosamine sulfate every day with my vitamins to keep my knee cartilage in good shape. Even so, after two years of running one knee got painful "runners knee". It was so painful I wondered if I needed a knee replacement operation. I quit running. After a couple of months the symptoms were gone, the knee completely healed and I started running again with no ill effects. After another year the same thing happended with the other knee. Presumably the men in primitive hunter gatherer tribes hobbled along on one foot with the women and childeren when this happened to them. After two months of no exercise my 10 minute mile started out a 12 minute mile.

A word of caution from long ago. Getting in shape should be a gradual process, and should not be rushed. When I was young I got out of shape and was determined to get back in shape as quickly as possible. I really pushed myself, and my knees loosened up enough that they could bend backward a little bit. Then I climbed a tree and sustained a permanent knee injury that I have to this day. I can jog forever, but a sprint will still hurt my knee. Do not push yourself too hard, and if your knees loosen up you have overdone it. Do not do any climbing or kneeling or put any avoidable stress on loose knees.

If you get blisters or if the balls of your feet get sore from running, you may need to wear two socks on each foot. When one sock slips on the other sock, it prevents stress on your flesh. You can also purchase "blister proof" two layer socks.

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