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By Hannah Bullimore

The world is facing up to a huge change for the foreseeable future as we all battle to overcome the Coronavirus pandemic. Many of us are already in isolation and all of us should now be practicing social distancing. The thought of weeks, possibly months, spent at home can be daunting, but as part of our new series, we are going to offer you different things you can do to keep physically and mentally well in the coming weeks and months, with an array of beginners guides to activities you can do while social isolating.

For anyone who is currently isolated (not quarantined) you are still ok to leave the house for walks and exercise so long as you keep two metres away from anyone you see. Whilst walking is something we can all do easily, jogging is a great alternative to the gym that you might not have tried before.

Here we will talk you through getting started with running for the first time as well as building a regular routine over the coming weeks.

Going for your first jog

Before you even begin, check that you have the right trainers for jogging. It’s important your feet are well supported to avoid aches and pains as you run for longer periods.

Plan your jogs in advance, making sure you know your route before you leave the house.

Make sure you avoid any injuries by building up slowly and warming up properly.

Warm-Up

Lift one knee at a time to the chest, hold close and then release your foot back to the ground. Repeat three times on each side.

Side-step a few paces one way and then the other, repeat four or five times.

Walk briskly for five minutes to fully warm up.

Once you are nicely warmed up, begin alternating walking and jogging. Try walking for one minute, jogging for one minute and repeat five times.

Try to keep moving constantly, allowing your breath to return to normal as you walk. This will help avoid cramps and stitches and keep your heart rate consistently raised throughout your exercise.

Next, try to jog for five minutes at a consistent pace.

Finally, walk home keeping a brisk pace. This will make the most of your exercise and act as a warm down to prevent injuries and aches and pains.

Correct Posture

When you begin jogging, an incorrect form can lead to injury or make running a less than fun experience. Follow these pointers to ensure you have the correct posture and will stay safe whilst jogging.

Look straight ahead as you run, keeping the head and neck in alignment above your shoulders to avoid strain in the upper back, shoulders and neck. Avoid jutting your head forward to avoid strain; you can check your head is in the right place by making sure your ears are above your shoulders.

Hands should be at about waist height, possibly brushing lightly against your hips as you move with a slight bend in the elbows. This will help you to keep a tall, open chest and ease breathing, avoiding tightness in the chest and shoulders.

Relax the hands to avoid pins and needles as you run.

Keep a long, tall spine and stand tall as you move. This will also avoid aches and pains and allow you to breathe more easily as you move.

Creating a jogging routine

As we continue with a period of large-scale isolation, routines are going to be very important to maintain mental and emotional wellbeing in this time of uncertainty. Jogging is a great way to get fresh air and add to your routine while maintaining distance from other people.

Here is a suggestion of a weekly jogging routine. You can add on a few minutes to your jogs each week so that you’ll see your fitness improve.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, start the day with a jog first thing, alternating three minutes of jogging with three minutes of walking. You could do this for ten or fifteen minutes to begin and slowly build up over time.

Rest on Tuesdays and Thursdays to allow your body to recover.

At the weekends enjoy a midday or evening jog to keep a separation between midweek and weekend when working from home or self-isolating. You could keep going with alternating between walking and jogging, or perhaps try walking at pace for five minutes, jog for ten to fifteen minutes and then walk home to cool down.

By creating a routine that you can keep to, this will help you feel more aware of the days and you can build a routine of other daily activities around your jogging, whether it’s working, cleaning or making meals, routine will be key in the coming weeks.

Jogging top tips

To help you make the most of your new hobby, here are some top tips to start jogging now and keep going in the future (even beyond the current unease)!

Mix it up

Avoid running the same route too often. Try to find new routes close to home to allow you to enjoy the different sights as you jog and keep it fresh.

Always warm-up and cool down

This will help avoid injury but will also make the whole experience of jogging more enjoyable as you will be less likely to get a stitch or muscle cramps.

Keep track

Start a jogging diary with information on each run such as distance, time, how much time spent walking versus jogging and the weather conditions. Keep track of how you feel so that you can see running becomes easier and more enjoyable with time.

Listen as you jog

Unfortunately, running with friends or as part of a group isn’t a possibility at the moment, but you can make the most of music, podcasts and audiobooks to keep you entertained as you exercise. Once life returns to normal, you will have grown your fitness so that you can jog and chat easily once isolation is over.

We all know that exercise comes with many fantastic benefits, including improving heart health and reducing the impact of stress and anxiety. In the current climate, these benefits are even more important, so we hope that this guide to starting to jog will be helpful in the coming weeks and months.

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