A study conducted at Duke University Medical Center found that aerobic exercise is more effective than resistance training in helping lose belly fat. While resistance training, such as weight lifting, will help you build up lean muscle mass, aerobic exercise was found to burn 67 percent more calories and effectively blast your tummy away. One great form of aerobic exercise is jogging, and whether you're an experienced runner or just looking into starting a couch-to-5k program, here are some tips:
- Suit up to succeed. Before you start to pound the pavement, make sure to purchase a good pair of running shoes. The right pair of sneakers made for running can help prevent some of the most common running-related injuries, including shin splints, blisters, sore muscles, and sore joints.
- Take the scenic route. Find a local park or trail where you feel comfortable jogging and know the area — running on grass, dirt, or on a running track is easier on your joints than running on asphalt and concrete. Make sure the location is well lit, out of the way of traffic, and safe.
- Don't overdo it. Develop a running program that spreads out over several weeks, where you can gradually build up your endurance and speed. Start with a 20 minute brisk walk/jog and work your way up.
- Always stretch before and after your run. Make sure to kick off your exercise session with five minutes of low-intensity physical activity, such as walking, and dynamic-type stretches. End your workout with static stretches. This routine will help you reduce your chance for injury, among other benefits.
- Stay hydrated. The National Athletic Trainers' Association recommends drinking 500-600 ml (17-20 oz) of fluids two hours prior to exercise and 200-300 ml (7-10 oz) of fluids every 10-20 minutes during exercise. Also, drink plenty of water after you finish your run to ensure you rehydrate.
- Take a break. Take rest days in between run days. You can either take the day off, or engage in a lower intensity workout, such as going for a walk at a moderate or slow pace.
- Pain...no running. Do not try to "run through the pain," as accommodating your running style to work around discomfort or pain can lead to excessive stress on your joints, muscles, and connective tissues. Instead, refrain from exercising until the pain goes away.
The American Council on Exercise
Reviewed by Susan Weiner, RD, MS, CDE, CDN. 05/12
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