Just making the decision to start jogging is already a step in a healthy direction. “There are many benefits of jogging,” says CAA South Central Ontario wellness consultant Joanna Marra. Running reduces blood pressure, cholesterol and risk of heart disease, and can increase cardiovascular fitness, meaning there is less strain on your heart to fuel you throughout the day. Mentally, jogging is also a great stress reliever. Marra recommends that people who are new to exercise should consult a physician before they begin running.
1. Start slowly.
The number one mistake beginner runners make is doing too much too soon. “They go all in, and that’s when injuries happen. Then it deters them in the long term,” Marra says. When starting out, Nike Toronto running coach and chiropractor Brittany Moran suggests focusing more on time than kilometres and doing run/walk intervals. “Start with five to 10 minutes of walking, alternating with one minute of running, then two minutes of running for five to 10 minutes and finishing with a 10-minute walk. Do this routine two to three times a week and increase your time by 10% each week to work up your kilometres.”
Weather can also be a factor. “In summer, make sure you pay attention to the temperature,” Moran says. “When you're running, focus on effort vs. pace to allow yourself to adjust to the conditions.”
If you want to keep track of your fitness progress, check our list of useful fitness trackers to find one that will work for you.
2. If the shoe fits.
The perfect shoe is different for everyone, depending on individual anatomy and gait. “If you try on running shoes, run around the store in them, and make sure that everything feels comfortable,” Moran says.
She also has recommendations on what to wear. “When it comes to dressing for the summer months it’s all about wearing sweat-wicking materials and light colours. A few of my personal favourites are the Nike aeroswift shorts and Nike aeroswift singlet.”
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3. Training goes beyond the actual run.
It’s also important to stretch before and after your run. Marra suggests dynamic stretching beforehand – movements that allow your joints and muscles to go through a full range of motion – like swinging your leg back and forth or standing knee hugs. Post-run, do five to 10 minutes of static stretching to help prevent injury, especially hamstring, calves, glutes and quadriceps stretches. And stay hydrated. Marra recommends drinking two to four litres of water per day, or more if you’re especially active. The CAA Store online carries some excellent options to help keep you hydrated, including the Pelican 32oz bottle and the innovative Osprey Seral 4 Hydration Waist Bag. CAA Members save even more when they shop at the CAA Store online.
4. Keep safe from the sun.
“Sun safety is also important so sunglasses, sunscreen and even a hat or visor may be advisable,” says Moran. For more sun safety tips, read our special guide on seven easy ways to keep your skin safe from the sun.
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