3 reasons why you should give up running
If you did it in the 90s in a shell suit, you probably knew it as jogging. These days we just call it running, and the chances are you do it with the aid of an app. But however you go about it, running isn’t that great for you. Especially if your goal is a slimmer figure.
According to surveys, most people run to lose weight and improve cardiovascular health. But although running is good for our heart and does improve our cardiorespiratory capacity, it’s certainly not the best – or easiest – way of achieving these goals.
Jogging took off in the 60s, finding popularity as a seemingly simple and natural way of doing exercise. However, jogging is not as natural as it seems: it’s not a movement pattern that our body likes to maintain for long periods. And, as Tonic reports, jogging can cause some quite serious health problems.
It’s a common source of injury
Around 79% of runners injure themselves at least once a year. This is a much higher percentage than with weightlifting or other sports. And running-based injuries are among the most varied. Of course, less physically prepared individuals are more likely to suffer from a serious injury.
Running can affect your bones, tendons, ligaments, spine, muscles, knees and soles. In fact, it can affect almost any part of the body. It can even lead to sudden death, though such a thing is rare.
‘The average person has a lot of muscle imbalances, where muscles on one side of the joint are weaker than muscles on the other side of the joint, so it’s really not the best idea to hammer away at them with long, endurance-style running where you’re taking, like, ten thousand strides over a thirty-minute run,’ says Lee Boyce, a renowned Canadian personal trainer.
Running can provoke chronic pain. There are many better methods of getting exercise which avoid this risk. Sprinting is one of them. When you sprint, you use more muscles in your body, but take fewer strides (which means less impact on your joints).
Another option is to reduce the time you spend running. A Danish study found that running more than four hours a week is very harmful. Analysts studied two groups of people over the course of 12 years: the first group was made up of runners, while the second was composed of individuals who lived a sedentary lifestyle. By the end of the period, results showed that practicing this sport for more than four hours a week was as damaging to health as doing no exercise at all.
The researchers recommended running no more than two and a half hours a week. An even more sensible option might be to replace running with another physical activity.
So it looks like running isn’t the miracle exercise that many of us imagine.
When we vow to lose those extra pounds we put on over Christmas, our first thought is often to go on a diet and start running. But the truth is that running for long periods doesn’t help us lose as much weight as anaerobic resistance exercise does.
‘Fast-twitch muscle fibres will help keep your joints bolstered and strong, so it’s just a better choice overall. Plus, you’re going to have more of a fat loss effect from sprinting for the same reasons you get it from weights: You’re doing things that require strength, explosiveness, exertion, and intensity, so your muscles are going to have to work a little bit harder, they’re going to burn more calories, and you’re going to be more metabolic after you finish your workout as well.’
Boosting your metabolism means that even after you’ve finished your workout, your body will continue burning extra calories, helping you lose weight.
“Running for long periods does not help us lose as much weight as anaerobic resistance exercise does.”
Another study questioning the effectiveness of running was published in 2008 in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
In this study, 27 overweight women were separated into three groups. The first group ran for five days a week with a low-medium intensity. The second ran just three times a week, but with high intensity. The third group didn’t run at all. After 16 weeks, the only group to lose a significant amount of weight was the second. The first and third groups remained more or less the same.
Of course, if your intention is to run marathons and improve your anaerobic endurance, then you should go for long runs of medium intensity. But this isn’t an effective way to lose weight.
Running can foment addiction and this can be dangerous. When we run we generate neurotransmitters which are similar to opiates and some cannabis derivatives.
This can be a positive thing. Running gives us a feeling of euphoria and psychological well-being which lingers after we’ve finished. In addition, it lowers our levels of leptin: a hormone which gives us a sensation of satiety.
However, running can also generate dependence. This is known as runnorexia: at present, an estimated 18% of runners suffer from it. These individuals’ addiction to the hormones stimulated by running means that taking a day off can cause them to feel anxious and depressed.
Source: Facebook/Eric Bologa via Storyful