November 10, 2012

Exercising Options (Part 1)

So, now that we’ve discussed when to exercise, it’s time to look at different exercising options. For the first part of this discussion, I thought we’d look at some traditional aerobic choices: running, jogging, and walking. In each, it’s important to consider both the benefits as well as the disadvantages when trying to decide what’s best for you.

Running or Jogging

Many people run. Some run short distances but at higher speeds while others run miles and miles at a lower speed but definitely have better endurance. The former is definitely a full on run, but the latter is often more jogging than running. I am, of course, speaking of those who run or jog for exercise not for competition.


According to every source I researched, but specifically WebMD, several health benefits exist to running or jogging. The biggest benefit is that running or jogging improves cardiovascular health, and since heart disease plagues both men and women, any improvement to our cardiovascular systems is important. Running or jogging also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol while building up the metabolism so that we burn more calories. This activity further improves self-esteem by helping us to feel and look healthy. All of this means that serious health benefits come from running or jogging, not the least of which is weight loss or simply a healthy weight.


As a former runner, now walker and jogger, I can tell the number one disadvantage to running specifically comes from the joints. Running is really hard on the joints whether running on a treadmill or on the road or on a trail. It just hurts. Pounding the pavement, dirt, or belt really takes its toll on the knees, ankles, and hips. Jogging is less painful and less harsh, but it still takes serious stretching and preparation when one jogs. And as a female, running is hard if women don’t have the right sports bra, if you know what I mean.


Walking is much like running or jogging, yet one stays at a walking pace. Naturally, this is not a simple stroll in the park. When walking, we still raise our heart rates and work up a sweat, but we don’t do so by moving into a run or sprint.


As the Mayo Clinic supports, like running or jogging, walking lowers the bad cholesterol and blood pressure as well as reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. It also helps to manage weight. Moreover, walking is less likely to cause injury and is definitely easier on joints. It helps to keep us strong and fit without the side effect of aching or injury. And it reduces the risk of heart attack just as much as more rigorous exercise like running or jogging. All of this makes walking an awesome way to stay healthy, fit, and happy.


The one major disadvantage of walking is that it does not burn as many calories as running. Okay, so that’s worth noting, but not enough to prevent people from exercising in this way. Really. One can simply walk longer or more often to compensate for this disadvantage.

Both of these methods of exercise are certainly beneficial. What’s even better about them is that they are low-cost options. I mean, basically, participants need running/jogging/walking shoes, socks, shorts or pants, shirt, and bra (for women) and then the open road. Of course, many also use iPods or other gadgets to listen to music, movies, books, the news, or whatever, but one only needs the proper clothing to partake in these forms of exercise. If doing this outside doesn’t sound interesting, then one can purchase a treadmill, but this is not required.

I loved running long distances when I did that. I felt good and healthy. But, I must say, walking and jogging have provided me with those same feelings with the additional positive of less pain. My joints no longer ache. I don’t have to take glucosamine or some other remedy to help my joints out. All I have to do is stretch. Walking and jogging are definitely for me.

All three have their places, so figure out what’s best and start your exercise path.

Image Credit: Warren Goldswain / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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