Tom Willemann Health Tips

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Scared about starting to jog? Take baby steps.

man and woman jogging
Many folks are avid walkers that have always wanted to get back to jogging or want to start jogging.  Some are obsessed with the Elliptical workouts but desire to be outside. 
Whatever your fitness wish, you should know that many people can start a joint jogging program with the proper steps!

Set realistic expectations

First, set realistic expectations at the start of this “new” way of working out. Nothing kills a perfectly good program than starting out comparing yourself to a friend who has been running for years or an Instagram sensation who lost 50 pounds and is jogging 10 miles after only 4 weeks into their fat loss journey.

Purchasing a heart rate monitor to track your progress is a nice way to make sure you’re not working too hard or too little.

The right shoes

Second, make sure you’re fitted for a good pair of running shoes. A recent measurement of your foot size is especially good to do for an older athlete. As we age, sometimes we need more room in the front of the shoe called the toe box or simply a wider or longer shoe. This was illustrated a few years back when I had a woman in my physical therapy clinic that realized she had to go up a size and a half, only after developing mild “numbness”.  


Next, I would pick out a good location to start. I’m an advocate of starting at your local high school track. It provides a consistent flat surface – often a more forgiving surface compared to most road surfaces.  In addition, you have a marked distance so you can gauge your progress as most tracks are ¼ mile around on a flat beginner surface. In addition, there’s no traffic so you can focus on jogging, not avoiding pedestrians, cars and a local dog off its leash!
Alright … let’s start jogging! 
I would suggest beginning with a gentle walk for five minutes or, when you are warmed up, start a jog- alternating-walk program. One of my old friends from high school really wanted to incorporate running into his exercise program. After warming up for 5-10 minutes, he would start jogging for five minutes and walk for five minutes. Over time, he would increase the amount of time jogging and then decrease the amount walking to eventually be able to complete a 5K.  

Lastly, listen for the signs of doing too much. Since most of you are beginners, I would start with a ½ mile on a ¼ mile track of jogging the straights of the track followed by walking the turns in the track.  Nice easy start and one you can easily build on.  

Before starting the program, you should be able to walk at least 1-2 miles at a good pace without being out of breath or experiencing significant musculoskeletal problems a day or two after starting.

If you experience any shortness of breath or greater than 5 minutes of joint or muscle pain after beginning, stop. Afterwards, you shouldn’t experience any joint swelling or pain.  Make sure you eat and hydrate before and after your exercise.  
Best of luck! Let me know how it goes if you decide to start!
* Check with your physician before starting any exercise program. 

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Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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