If you desire to improve your aerobic fitness, reduce your risk for chronic disease and strengthen your bones, consider making walking or jogging part of your exercise routine. These types of aerobic exercise require no special equipment besides a comfortable pair of shoes. To gain the benefits associated with walking and jogging, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends exercising for at least 30 minutes on five days each week.
Improve Aerobic Fitness
Aerobic exercises of all types help strengthen your heart and lungs and help them become more efficient. Walking or jogging at the proper intensity will help you strengthen your heart and improve your aerobic fitness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends exercising at least at a moderate-intensity level, or between 50 and 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. You can estimate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. If you are new to exercise, start at the lower end of your target heart rate range and build toward the higher end as your aerobic fitness increases.
Reduce Disease Risk
Increased levels of aerobic fitness are associated with improved health and quality of life. Regular walking or jogging can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, some types of cancer and type-2 diabetes. Regular walking or jogging can also help you manage your weight, boost your mood and strengthen your immune system. The CDC reports that participating in regular aerobic exercise, including walking and jogging, can increase your chances of living healthier for longer.
Better Bone Health
Walking and jogging are weight-bearing exercises that also improve bone strength. Just as your muscles get stronger as you use them, your bones also get stronger and more dense as you place impact on them. Walking, jogging and other weight-bearing exercises help reduce your risk for developing osteoporosis. Walking and jogging may also be a part of your treatment plan for osteoporosis, but check with your doctor first.
Things to Consider
Check with your doctor before starting a new walking or jogging program if you have a condition that may make exercise unsafe or if you have been sedentary for some time. Always start your exercise session with a warm-up period and stretching exercises can also be done when your muscles are warm. Walking and jogging can provide you with many health benefits. Choose types of exercise you enjoy to increase your chances of sticking with your exercise routine.
- ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription; Walter R. Thompson, Ph.D.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity for Everyone: Target Heart Rate and Estimated Maximum Heart Rate
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity and Health: The Benefits of Physical Activity
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: Exercise for Your Bone Health
- Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.