Jogging and Swimming the Right WayOf all the calorie-burning exercises, swimming and jogging are the best because they are the most intense and they give a full-body workout. Aerobic exercises give a workout to all of your body’s systems at the same time. The word aerobic actually means “with oxygen”, and refers to the use of oxygen in the muscle system’s energy-generating process. Similar exercises are bicycling and using a rowing machine.

An effective aerobic exercise session should consist of a warm-up, the exercise itself, and a cool-down. Both the warm-up and cool-down should last about 10 minutes, being the periods in which you are transitioning between about 50% of your heart’s maximum intensity, which is when you’re sitting still, and the 80% of maximum intensity which is when you are exercising at peak capacity. The exercise itself should last 20 to 30 minutes. Of course, if you are going longer than this, you can break your workout into units of this size, taking a rest of 20 minutes or so between each one.

One should keep in mind that aerobic exercise is not the be-all, end-all of fitness. The other end of the exercise spectrum is anaerobic exercise, such as weight-lifting and strength training. Dedicating a part of your exercise regimen to both types of exercise with give you the most balanced fitness level. In addition, building muscles helps to burn fat, since muscles in fact use fat for their energy. The bigger and stronger the muscle, the more fat it burns. This explains why some people can jog every day and still not lose as much weight.

Swimming is the equivalent of jogging, but you should limit yourself on time, since swimming is far more taxing to your body than jogging. However swimming gives some anaerobic exercise as well, since you are pushing against the water’s resistance. Scientists have determined that at least some of our evolutionary ancestors were “aquatic apes“, so we actually have some background in swimming that goes along naturally with the human physique. Besides this, swimming is lower in impact than jogging.

Jogging is a higher-impact activity because you are working against gravity and running on what is probably a hard ground surface. Cushioned shoes and specially-surfaced tracks for jogging help some, but you must remember not to overdo jogging or you might develop repetitive stress injuries. Another common mistake is that people push themselves too hard when jogging – the heart is after all just as vulnerable to an arrest during jogging as any other time.

Do not think that you can eat a destructive diet, smoke with abandon, have no activity the rest of the day, and then fix it all with 30 minutes of intense exercise three days out of the week. What counts is the consistency, not the intensity of the session. Doing moderate exercise every day will be much more beneficial than intense exercise every third day.

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Get well and stay well,
Ray Baker.