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Jogging - What Was I Thinking?

A few weeks back I started jogging on a daily basis. For those of you in my age group that are unfamiliar with the idea, jogging is like walking only much quicker - or so I thought.

Turns out jogging is more like systematically bruising your muscles and joints until just standing upright becomes a challenge in the face of pain. Let's back track a little.

I've been walking about 1.2 kilometres on a daily basis for the best part of the last two years. Taking the same circle route every day as part of my exercise routine - which also includes about an hour of daily weight lifting. The walk usually takes me about 50 minutes - clearly I'm not walking all that quickly.

Recently I've become bored with walking and I don't actually think it's doing me a great deal of good. I started my walks to get my high cholesterol levels down but discovered it was having only marginal benefit. However some benefit is better than none so I kept walking long after the doctor had prescribed pills for my problem (which I never followed up with).

Now I'm fairly fit and have something of a reputation in that regard. I've often thought I should give jogging of my regular walking route a try - just to see if I can. It didn't seem that daunting an idea since I've been known to walk non stop for hours at a time.

About three or four weeks ago I bit the bullet and went for it. Had my new shoes on which I thought had more than enough padding, grabbed a bottle of water to keep me hydrated and took off.

When you've never so much as broken out into a run in more than ten years, yet you've got fairly toned muscles from weight training, jogging isn't quite as easy as you might think. I made it about 50 metres from my house by which time I was gasping for a drink and thinking maybe this wasn't such a good idea.

You see I can actually run quite fast. Nothing to win any sprint races with but much faster than I used to be able to before I started exercising. My problem being, running feels quite easy - to begin with - so I tend to run faster than I should. Certainly too fast to call what I started out with 'jogging'.

To cut a long story short I managed to jog around about two thirds of my 1.2 kilometre walk interspersed with periods of walking and err... rehydrating (sucking down water actually). Cut my time to about 35 minutes.

That seemed fine. I knew if I kept at it things would get easier and I'd learn to slow my pace to a jog. It wasn't to be.

After about seven days of jogging my joints were all bruising up, particularly at my hips and left knee. My ankles were even starting to hurt. You'd expect some pain with a new exercise regime but even after a couple of days rest my joints weren't recovering.

I had to pull the plug on jogging (and walking for that matter). It's not that I'm not fit enough it's just that I needed better shoes. My entire route - except for one short section - followed a concrete surface. My shoes just weren't up to the job of absorbing the impact.

A couple of weeks after I gave up jogging and walking my joints and muscles are pretty much back to normal. Though there were times where the pain was so great I was sure I must have shattered some bones.

I won't be taking up jogging again any time soon but I am seriously thinking of buying a bicycle. One of those mountain bikes. Long distance bike riding has got to be better for me than walking without all the joint impact of jogging.

The moral... if your at that age where you know you're not as damage proof as you used to be (in my case 39) be sure to have really good shoes before you take up any high impact sport like jogging, running and, if you're really insane, marathon running.

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