Fitness Post – The Positives and Negatives of Running

Having just reached the milestone of one hundred posts I thought it appropriate that I cover the topic of running as I am not an advocate of it as a recreational activity but it is one of the most popular modes of exercise around the world. I guess we can’t get out of our minds the images of the great athletes who compete in the Olympics when we choose it as our mode of exercise and as an activity it is easy to do and relatively cheap. 

You only need to create a time slot in your day and purchase a pair of running shoes and you are away. For most people three to four runs a week are adequate to gain a basic level of condition and runs of between 20 and 30 minutes have been advocated by people of my profession to gain the results most people require. On the down side physiotherapists live off the repetitive strain injuries people get through the constant strain on the body that running on the very hard surfaces that most runners use.

In the societies around the world where running has been part of their lifestyle for many generations they rarely use the hard surfaces and they don’t wear shoes…or if they do, the shoes are something that they use for everyday activities. Now the two concepts that I have covered in the last sentence need some explanation to drive home the point. Within these societies that running is part of life, their bodies have adapted to the movement and their technique of movement is very efficient…relaxed and rhythmical…and natural. In the Western societies who have taken up running as a pastime over the last few decades our bodies have not adapted and therefore we suffer the consequences of this lack of adaptation. Also the paving and road tarmacs that most people run on are too hard as compared to the grasses and soil tracks that the ‘running societies’ use.

So some ideas to get around these issues –

  • Unless there is a compelling reason for you to run, don’t run but walk.
  • If you feel the need to run then try to use softer surfaces to run on.
  • Work on your technique of running as it will pay dividends in the long run (excuse the pun). Most people run with an up and down gait and there is an imbalance of stress placed upon one side of the body as compared with the other. So work a smooth evenness of running style. (I have covered this in an earlier post).
  • Ensure you use other modes of exercise to augment your running regime so that the body builds an overall condition.

If you are using running as a method for losing or controlling your weight understand that exercise has only a very small part to play in doing this. You may well point out the great physiques of the Olympic athletes but the amount of activity that they need to do each day to reach the levels of performance that they achieve is in a completely difference league to the average exerciser! Diet and your movement activity throughout your day are far more important as far as weight loss is concerned.

There are professions that require a standard of running performance such as some Police Departments and the Armed Services but if you follow the suggestions above it will help you to achieve the required goals without suffering too much in the consequences. If you have a job which requires plenty of movement throughout the working day you don’t need to run. If you have a recreational activity that requires plenty of movement, you don’t need to to run. Just move…and find times in your day to do this. Excuses to not do so are just that?

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