08-01-2012, 06:28 PM
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Jogging (based on 40 years of it): I know some people swear by stretching first. If I stretch first, I set myself up for injury. Most of the studies I've seen indicate that stretching before a jog increases the chance of injury for the majority of people. Stretching after a run usually is considered better.
For me, I find riding a horse after jogging stretches me out better than any stretches I've ever tried.
When my knees start to ache, it usually means it is time for new shoes. I've been using Nike Air Pegasus since they were just Nike Pegasus. You can sometimes find someone in a sports store who will give good advice, but you also sometimes run into someone who will recommend whatever shoe it is the store needs to get rid of...
I figured it out backwards. After trying a variety of shoes, I found I did well with the Pegasus - and that told me what type of shoe I need.
Stride: Find a grassy place where you can run barefoot. Run barefoot. After a few minutes, you'll be running in the way that minimizes impact damage to your body. If my knees ache & my shoes are OK, then it means I've been trying to go faster than my body is ready for. That changes my stride (longer and more force). After a horse related injury, I've gone 3 years without jogging and am now trying to get back in shape at 54. The 6 minute mile I could do at 49 is now more like an 8 minute mile. But if I try to improve too quickly, my joints will get hurt. I don't know if I will ever get back to a 6 minute mile, but I'd bet IN TIME I can get down to around 6:30. Listen to your body.
Strength training: Good stuff, but it is easy to push too far too fast. I've tried gyms. I've tried weight sets.
I'm past the age of attracting girls by flexing my biceps. Heck, even if they came, I wouldn't know what to do with them! I'm more interested in strength training as a way to be ready to do work or sports. For me, lower weights and higher repetitions gives me better fitness than heavy weights. Push-ups, dips, pull-ups, crunches - OK, I don't do crunches because I hate them - but you get the idea...you can do a lot with almost no equipment.
I've tried using heavy weights in the past, but I found it far too easy to injure myself. Weight machines help reduce injuries, but they don't prepare you well for real world sports & work.
How often? Listen to your body. Age plays a big role. In your teens, twice a day may be possible. In your 30s, daily - at least, I know I was able to run 6+ times a week without problem. In my 50s, it is more like every other day. From what I've read, a lot of guys in their 70s find they do better (run faster, lift more) if they limit themselves to 2/week.
Exercise for weight loss: It helps, but it isn't a cure all. I've struggled with fat my entire life. I've concluded that I will never look like Arnold in his prime. I'll never have 6-pack abs. I suppose I could, but it would require a level of dieting combined with a level of exercise that just isn't worth it to me.
Three years without running has run my weight up to 180. It is starting to come down. I suspect I can get back down to 165 without fanaticism. It will take at least a year, but I think I can get there. Beyond that, I would have to behave in ways that would have negative impact on the rest of my life. I figure at 54 I ought to be able to eat some ice cream once in a while. About 1/month, my family likes to go out to eat - and I want to go with them. It boils down to figuring out the right balance for your life and goals, and then accepting yourself as you are at that point.
All IMHO. Good luck as you press on!