Since selected sports and outdoor activities are permitted under the current movement control order (MCO), the street where I live has been littered with evening joggers.
Surprisingly, it’s not the usual suspects, but newbies who have decided to take up jogging to get a breath of fresh air after being cocooned in their homes for two months.
It’s nice to see so many people taking advantage of this “parole” and exercising outdoors. but I wonder how long their enthusiasm will last.
After almost a week, the numbers are already dwindling.
I recall a college-mate posting her father’s advice on Facebook during the early days of the MCO.
“Darling, since you can’t go outdoors and you have no space in your condominium, why don’t you jog on the spot on your balcony? You don’t need any equipment.
“Exercise is very important to keep yourself healthy, you know?” the concerned parent told her.
My friend is not an avid exerciser and her hundreds of Facebook friends were tickled pink with her dad’s advice.
In his 80s, he is not quite internet-savvy and doesn’t know that fitness workouts are available online. But he was spot on in his advice!
Serious runners may cringe, but jogging on the spot is a great calorie-burning activity, especially in these times when you want to stay home to stay safe.
You can do it in the comfort of your home, on the balcony or in your living room or bedroom, with or without shoes, on carpet or on any flooring, and in your pyjamas.
It can be tweaked for low or high intensity, and you don’t need anyone to teach you how to jog – it comes naturally.
When I shared the story with my dear mother, I was even more shocked to discover that she jogs on the spot in her room every morning!
“Really? You can run, Moms?” I asked incredulously. She then proceeded to show me.
Gosh, my mother runs – on the spot! It must be a baby boomer thing.
“Why do you need to pay expensive gym membership when you can exercise at home?
“I used to do all these exercises with your grandfather.
“Now I do what I can because I still need to look after all of you!” she told me off.
I’ve never seen her do it because I’m usually asleep at that hour, but yes, even her grandchildren were impressed.
A start to running
With that revelation, I’ve also started incorporating jogging on the spot into my workout routines.
It’s a great way for beginners to start before they attempt to run further distances on the treadmill or outdoors.
With the treadmill, you are technically jogging in the same spot, but the conveyor belt is moving so you have to take strides forward to move.
When you jog on the spot, your feet are landing at the same point where they took off from, so the movement is slightly different.
As a cardiovascular activity, the benefits are plentiful: increased heart rate, enhanced lung capacity and improved circulation.
Instead of propelling your body forward, you’ll lift your knees straight up, so there is less chance for the body to slouch.
According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, jogging in place while engaging the abdominal muscles, is a great way for postural improvement.
Many dysfunctions are increasing in modern society due to excessive sedentary hours, which are a result of advancements of industrial society, and a lack of exercise.
If you are really strapped for time, even five minutes of jogging on the spot, broken up over three segments of the day, can deliver results.
The only drawback is that you can’t do it for too long as it gets boring.
But you can spice things up by holding a water bottle in your hands, or interspersing your jog with strength-training exercises like push-ups, squats and crunches.
Design your own circuit workout, e.g. jog in place for five minutes, do 10 crunches, jog for ano-ther five minutes, do 10 lunges, then rest for a minute.
Repeat the circuit if you have the energy. Or do another circuit later in the day.
Jogging or running
Jogging and running are slightly different, especially in the eyes of the running fraternity.
The definition can vary and there really isn’t a strict rule that clearly spells out when you are running and when you are jogging.
However, it is generally believed that jogging is defined as going at a pace of less than 6mph (9.7km/h), while running is defined as anything faster than 6mph (9.7km/h).
Runners hate to be called joggers, considering it an insult.
The casual nature of the word may bother some people who take their running seriously.
They think joggers are people who go out for a leisurely jog once in a while, without investing in a proper training regime.
Really, there isn’t any strict standard. It’s not as if once you drop below a certain pace, you’ll fall behind into the jogger’s category.
Most people run at various different paces depending on their distance, and with age, they tend to slow down.
About the joints
People frequently believe the misconception that jogging or running in the long run is injurious to the joints.
Research shows that running and vigorous sports activity do, in fact, increase the risk of knee trauma and injuries, which in turn, are known risk factors for knee osteoarthritis.
On the other hand, excess weight is also a risk factor for osteoarthritis, and running reduces body weight, which may offset part of the osteoarthritis effects of running.
In reality, unless you have a genetic predisposition to osteoarthritis, jogging doesn’t cause this condition.
But if you already have osteoarthritis and your cartilage is beginning to wear off, then jogging will make it worse.
Some experts believe that jogging helps future arthritic patients to stay active in their later years.
The compressive motion helps bring more fluid to the knees and keeps them moving.
If your knee hurts when you run, it could signal many other factors, e.g., improper footwear, misaligned anatomical structure (e.g. pronated feet, knock knees or hyperextended knees) or a prior injury.
The lighter you are and how your feet strike the ground when you land also play a role.
Not all of us walk or run gracefully like a gazelle, and we don’t all hit the ground with the same relative amount of force.
Some people walk softly, while others sound louder walking by and hit the ground more forcefully.
This is not dependent on weight though, as an obese person may walk softly while a skinny fellow may sound like a baby hippopotamus.
For heavy-landing people, that extra force could become an issue and the pounding from running can lead to osteoarthritis.
On the other hand, some people who are genetically set up for osteoarthritis will end up developing the disease, no matter how well or how often they run.
The beauty of jogging on the spot is that you can run as gently as you want or pick up the pace for higher intensity.
If you want to keep things easy, don’t lift your knees too high.
Just be sure to land on your toe, then ball, then heel.
Revathi Murugappan is a certified fitness trainer who tries to battle gravity and continues to dance to express herself artistically and nourish her soul. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The information contained in this column is for general educational purposes only. Neither The Star nor the author gives any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star and the author disclaim all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.
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