I’ve recently starting incorporating running into my weekly workout routine again. Several years ago, when I was doing CrossFit, we used to run on a pretty regular basis. Back then running a 5k at least once a week was not uncommon and we always tried to run a ½ mile lap after every workout as a finisher. But over the years I got away from those runs. Now that I think about it I have also gotten fatter over the years but I digress.
For some reason, it seems like running has been demonized by the fitness community as detrimental to fitness goals and even to your health. Now as I have started running again, I feel my energy levels getting higher and my mental clarity improving. Sure, it hurts a little starting out but what workouts don’t when you are starting fresh after taking some time off, especially few years off.
Running to me is not just cardio; it’s almost like a compound exercise. I have found that when I run, my entire body gets a workout; shoulders, neck, back, abs, arms, and legs. After running a couple of miles, even on the treadmill, afterwards I can feel the tension everywhere. Another reason I feel running is such a benefit for me is because I feel it counteracts the ill effects of sitting at a desk the majority of the day at my job. It forces me to correct my posture and stretches my body out after being compressed into a chair, sitting all day. I think that anyone trying to maintain a certain semblance of fitness while working a desk job may want to consider adding some running to their fitness regimen. Another note about my personal running experience; it seems to keep me lean even if I’m cheating regularly on my diet. It seems like once I’ve been running on a pretty regular basis my body becomes more efficient at using the food I take in for fuel, especially the fat, so there’s not a lot of calories laying around being lazy and fattening up my midsection. I don’t know about you, but I like being able to have a few beers and some chicken wings and cheese fries and not have to worry about being a fat ass.
So if it seems that running a little every week has had such benefits for me why has it been slammed by so many people as being unhealthy? I went on the internet searched for articles about “is running good for you” and “is running bad for you” and found one single correlation between both subjects: the word excessive. Excessive running is bad for you. It turns out that excessive anything is bad for you, but what is excessive can be a very personal thing. One article in particular really impressed me, Is Running Good Or Bad For Your Health?. The author cites some very interesting studies about running that provide very enlightening information about the activity.
Based on the information out there about running, as well as my own personal experience, if you aren’t running now you may want to start. I don’t believe that’s all that you should do though. I feel that a combination of running and resistance training is most beneficial. I have recently starting following a fitness program designed by a website called Power Athlete. If you want a workout program that is well rounded, combining strength, power, speed, mobility, and conditioning, then that’s the place to go. Plus, if you are like me and are facing the time constraints of trying to fit a good workout into your lunch break every day, their programs are highly adaptable for just that sort of thing.
Feel free to let me know what your personal experience with running has been. How many miles do you run at a time or during a week? What kind of shoes work best for you? What kind of stretching helps? I will keep you updated on my own progress. Who knows, maybe there is a marathon in my future.