Are humans born to run?

Posted on May 25, 2012 in Exercise, Habits, Nutrition

The impact of running on your joints can be more than three times your body weight, every step is triple the impact of walking. This fact alone, sees that the reality of a lifetime of running only becomes a reality for a select few. With knee and hip replacements running rife in Australia and around the world, is there a relationship between running and people’s ailing joints?

Obviously there are varying contributing factors in everyone’s situations, so to place the blame entirely on running alone would perhaps be a bit unfair. However, we cannot deny the resounding impact running can place on one’s body. As a trainer, I strongly recommend all my clients to steer clear of running, particularly the older you are.

As we age, while our body will progressively deteriorate, we can still generate massive physiological gains and improvements, on the provision we are treating our bodies right. You can walk every day, walking is functional, we are forced to do it daily in some capacity regardless. Resistance training will keep your joints, bones and muscles strong, while ensuring we fuel our bodies correctly is the key to longevity.

Become a walker not a runner, my recommendations to clients are as follows:

-Walk for 30 minutes every day

-Engage in 3-5 resistance training sessions a week

-Adopt a Paleo type eating style (if you haven’t heard of Paleo check this website: http://thepaleodiet.com/archives/3879)

Besides what Bruce Springsteen may say, as humans, we were not born to run (for any extensive distances anyway). While through evolution we engaged in more short sharp sprinting bursts of running (to catch food or avoid being the food), the likes of the distances covered in marathon type running were never part of our functional requirements.

If you are an avid runner and wouldn’t dare stop, by all means continue, but maybe look to run only once or twice a week. If you start to feel pain in your joints, get them checked, listen to your body, pushing through pain won’t serve you well in the ‘long run’. We only get one body so we need to look after it. Fuel it right, exercise it accordingly and reap the benefits of functional fitness.