Why is Everybody Running?
Two athletes at the peak of their sport…..world class but do they look healthy?
Every day I drive to work and often take the scenic route alongside the brown River Thames. It is not the sight of a brown river that makes me feel a little queezy or the fact that I have to wash soot off my face when I arrive at work but instead its the hunched over knee brace wearing creatures that run at walking pace along the embankment that disturb me.
A harsh way to describe people trying to get fit but I’m just saying what I see and that is NOT getting fit! To me being fit is about feeling good, looking good, having good posture, being strong, agile and pain free. So which part of being fit does running on concrete (usually in bad posture) for hours a week cover? Well not much to be honest as I’m about to list below why all that treadmill pounding is not only wasting your time but its probably making you less FIT!!!!! :
- Long distance running creates a massive amount of stress on your whole body from your hips and knees to your heart and muscle. In fact if you were to have a heart attack your doctor would test your Creatine Kinase levels and find them very high, as high as if you had just run a marathon. Marathon + heart attack stress the heart in the same way….ouch no thanks.
- The first man to do a marathon died almost immediately afterwards……I never heard of death by pressups!
- There have been many studies to see if running is bad for the body and it is felt that “Today’s runners are tomorrow’s cyclists”—not because of a “natural progression” from one sport to the other, but as a result of joint injury.
- Long distance running almost always results in bad posture because of the repetitive nature and the long “grinding” nature of chronic cardio as you plod along just counting down the distance. When coupled the fact that most people already have bad posture and long distance running is seen as the best weight loss method around I think this makes matters worse but then the companies selling expensive supported trainers and knee braces are happy at least.
- Cortisol “the death gene” is released when you are under stress and historically it is meant to be burned of with a quick burst of either “fight or flight” but it tends to build up as we sit at desks or increase its amount by doing long distance running. Basically long distance running (or any other long period of repetitive exercise) stresses out your body as much as any work deadline!
- It burns muscle so if you do it to lose weight you will get skinny not healthy and lean as you would by sprinting, lifting weights or walking.
- It makes you weaker, slower and less flexible.
- It’s damn boring as well!!
I think I have shown the many down sides of long distance running but it does have a few benefits I guess such as it does strengthen the heart and lungs but then so does any exercise. It is still definitely worth doing a long distance type competition for charity or just to say you’ve done it as the odd one off but I guarantee you that if most of your fitness regime is based around long distance cardio you will never reach your fitness potential. This year for instance I did the “Tough Guy” 10 mile assault course which lasted a couple of hours of fun/pain and I will also be doing the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest race in November for those of you who are keen to join in?
Anyway I only wanted this to be a short rant but I could write about my feelings on this for hours so I’ll wrap this up now before Miss Radcliffe hunts me down and flails her stick like arms at me!