Running is in and out of fashion quicker than jeans-styles. Everyone has their own opinion on running, whether it be good, bad or indifferent. The pros and cons are both significant, there is actually no right answer to this post, but for your own piece of mind let me state a few facts to help you make an informed choice.
The human body adapts quickly to exercise, which is why it is important to progress and vary your workouts. When someone is using running as a weight loss technique, the distance and time will need to be constantly increased to get results. It is known for people to run over an hour everyday, but their bodies never change; they are used to the routine, there is no challenge in this.
A way to overcome this barrier is to mix up the running style, add in some intervals (sprint training), change the terrain, add in some hills etc. This puts the body through a whole new work out and will definitely give results, as long as training sessions get progressively harder and they are high intensity.
A great work out, but what happens to the actual body while running? The constant impact can cause a lot of damage to joints, bones and muscles; many runners suffer ongoing injuries, and find their body’s wither with the stress they are repeatedly putting them through. Some may never suffer any injury at the time, then 20 years later their body begins to deteriorate rapidly.
The best way to prevent running-related injuries is to not just run. Stretching after a run is one of the most important things anyone can do, but also a runner should have a programme of resistance based exercises to compliment their training. Exercises to strengthen the leg muscles, core muscles and back muscles can prevent countless injuries, as well as increasing performance rapidly.
The most common problems are found with road running, concrete is hard and the body suffers a lot of impact damage with every step. Treadmills are designed to give a softer landing, although with long term use the same effects apply. Running on sand or grass can be less stress on the body, and much more of a challenge to run, but again there is still some impact and the risk of tripping or twisting something is greater.
Running, as a challenging, progressive work out, is great for weight loss. But be aware of what weight you are loosing; without eating appropriately and using complimentary resistance exercises you could be loosing valuable muscle mass; overall slowing your metabolism and damaging the muscles long term. Sprinters are no longer skin and bone, they are lean and athletic.
If you are unsure about running programmes and the correct exercises to do to ensure you are working effectively, don’t be afraid to ask for help! You only get one body, treat it with care.
Safiyah Esack – 10/05/2013