Running has been a popular sport since the earliest days of sporting history and shows no sign of receding anytime soon. However, is it truly as effective as it is made out to be? Many people gravitate towards running as an initial means of weight-loss and improving one's physique, but there some truths about running that deserve to be made known:
- Reduced fat burning over time
When thinking about what form of exercise to do in order to achieve weight-loss, cardiovascular work is perhaps the answer most people arrive at. However, endurance training is not the best route to take if the aim is to improve body composition. Treadmills get easier with time as your biomechanics and motor efficiency improves. As you grow more coordinated and skilful, you may not be as efficient at burning fat as you initially were when you first started.
- Induced hunger for women
Studies have found out that while cardiovascular exercise suppressed appetite in men, it had the opposite effect in women. This can create a risk of overeating that can lead to unwanted weight-gain, which ends up feeding back into itself when one resorts to more running as a way to shed the extra weight.
- Inconsistent activity
The runner’s high can only get you so far. After exhausting runs and being on a controlled diet, your body may undergo a series of metabolic adaptations. To survive, it uses less energy to move simply because it's no longer getting the same amount of energy from food as it used to. This type of energy preservation may result in you being less active when not exercising. It worsens if there is a lack of self-discipline as it creates the perfect excuse for being a couch potato post-run.
Many people enjoy running as it clears the mind while your body performs the repetitive task of running. You can zone out and listen to podcasts, or organise your thoughts to clear some mental space. Of course, the benefits of intelligently-programmed endurance training cannot be neglected (e.g. handling stress more effectively and enhancing cognitive function). However, it's important to not overdo things on the cardiovascular front. Balance it out with regular sessions of strength training and you'll get the best of both worlds – a body that looks as good as it performs!