If Running Is So
Healthy, Why Are Running
Injuries So Common?
Have you ever noticed how running injuries and running seem to go hand
in hand? Why is this? How can an activity be
considered healthy when it can lead to so many injuries,
even when performed correctly? (For a listing of some common running
injuries, click HERE).
Applying the animal kingdom workout
philosophy to running
When it comes to health and
fitness, I always begin from the premise
that animals in the
wild are far healthier than human beings.
If you want to be strong and healthy, it is not a bad idea to
take a look at how animals eat and exercise. The evolutionary
processes that have affected them have influenced us as well.
When considering any workout or weight loss program, it is
always not a bad idea to ask the question "do animals in the natural
world do this?" If the answer is no, you should
look upon the
program with increased skepticism.
Do Animals Jog?
question is, do animals
jog? Do they run at a moderate pace
over long distances? My observation is that they do not.
Animals either take their time and walk at a relaxed pace, or
they run as fast as they can (usually to catch food, or to avoid
becoming food themselves) over short distances. There is no
evolutionary reason for any animal to run at a moderate pace over long
distances, so they never did. This is why, I
animal's (including human beings) essentially have two gears: slow for
long distances, fast for short ones. There is no middle gear
for jogging. Forcing your body to do something it hasn't
evolved doing is unnatural and is asking for trouble (such as the
running injuries mentioned above).
Consider Olympic Athletes
If you question
my logic above, why not use your own eyes? Have you ever
noticed how serious long distances runners often look gaunt, not to
mention far older than they really are? They may have no fat
on them, but they have little muscle either. Better yet,
compare the physiques of Olympic athletes who run the sprints, as
opposed to those who run the 10,000 meters. The sprint
athletes look as strong and powerful as a human being can possibly be.
In comparison, the long distance runners, even though they
are at their physical peak, appear thin and worn, aged beyond their
How about Jim
was one of the original evangelists with regards to running,
the best selling book The
Complete Guide To Running
in 1977. When he took
up running in 1967 at age 35, he weighed 240 pounds and smoked 2 packs
a day. He credited running with helping him lose 60 pounds,
as well as giving up smoking. However, he died of a massive
heart attack at the age of 52 after one of his daily runs.
I've read many stories similar to this. An
apparently healthy person, usually older than 40, suffering a major
heart attack while running. In the short term, I believe that
Jim Fixx's dedication to running did help him (it's better than being
over weight and smoking). In the long term, I suspect Jim
Fixx would have been better off doing Yoga.
Based on the above, I think the following needs to be considererd.
Long distance running, or jogging, simply puts a strain on
the human body that it was not designed (via evolution) to handle.
What's worse, the dangers posed by running increase with age.
There is no evolutionary basis for thinking that running is a
natural exercise, which is why running injuries are so common.
Animals do not run, and neither should you.
do you think about the above? Whether you agree or disagree,
I'd love to hear from you. If you have a comment, feel free
to use the comment
form on this website.
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