Although losing weight through exercise is slower than by calorie restriction, it is more effective. An excellent form of exercise for improved health is jogging. It is simple, requires no special skills, and can be enjoyed at any age. It is convenient and involves a minimum of time each week.
From a physiological standpoint, it is an excellent form of exercise as it puts a moderate amount of stress on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
If you were never an athlete, you will develop your own natural instinct for your personal exercise program. However, anyone older than 40 years of age should consult his or her medical doctor before starting an exercise program.
The most important factor in the use of exercise to help control body fat is to concentrate on the distance you travel, not how fast you go. The benefits from jogging do not come from speed but from distance. The more you jog, the more muscle imbalances can occur. Daily exercise for stretching and strengthening of the muscles is very important to anyone's jogging program.
The calf, hamstring (back of the leg and thigh), and lower back muscles can become contracted and shortened, as well as tight and inflexible. Therefore, it is extremely important to stretch these muscles before jogging.
Also, the shin, quadriceps (front of thigh), and belly muscles can become weakened. It is therefore important to strengthen these muscles as well.
Dr. Robert Weiss, a sports podiatrist, was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and the 1988 Olympic Trials. He is a veteran of 30 marathons. Weiss is a Fairfield native who lives in Westport and has a practice in Darien. For information, visit his website at www.therunningdoctor.net.