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Fitness & Exercise

Born to Run-Walk?

"Wogging" Can Be a Step Toward Running, or a Workout All Its Own
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"It offers an exerciser a way to increase intensity, reduce musculoskeletal joint stress associated with doing too much of any one repetitive motion, and create more challenge and variety to his or her workout," says Kathy Stevens, a Reebok master trainer and member of the board of certification and training for the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America.

It can also improve your cardiovascular fitness, by increasing your endurance.

"It's similar to interval training," says Hewitt. "By taking short little dips into that anaerobic (high-intensity) zone, you train the body to tolerate a higher level of respiratory challenge."

So how do you know if wogging is right for you?

Many people are candidates for a walk/jog program. Before starting any new fitness routine though, experts advise checking with your doctor to be sure you have no limitations.

Exercise physiologist and WebMD Weight Loss Clinic sports physciologist Rich Weil says a walk-run program works best for someone who's already been walking at least 30 minutes consistently a few times per week and wants to start running.

"The idea is, over time, you increase your jogging time and decrease your walking time," he says.

You do that by setting up intervals, says Weil. Let's say you already walk 30 minutes. One day, decide that you'll walk for five minutes and then jog for one or two. Repeat that pattern until you've finished the workout, and, over time, continue to lengthen the time you jog and shorten the time you walk.

Runner's World magazine has a 10-week plan to take wannabe runners from two-minute intervals in week one to a full-fledged, 30-minute run by week 10, simply by adding one to two minutes to each running interval each week (while reducing the same number of minutes spent walking).

"The reality is that you can improve your fitness walking or running or a combination of the two," says Hewitt. "Asking your body to do just a little bit more than the comfort level allows, you're teasing your functional limitations -- teasing that edge."

Of course, as with any new program, the hardest part of wogging is sticking with it.

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