Running is the most popular way of exercising in UK. Everyone “knows” that running is the best cardio exercise, also “it is great” for weight loss and overall fitness. Let’s see if that is true.
Running as a cardio exercise
Running is one of many cardio exercises. It improves cardiovascular system: increases cardiac output (stroke volume and beats per minute) and pulmonary system (respiratory system extracting oxygen from air and getting rid of carbon dioxide produced during energy generation inside cells) efficiency, builds capillary network and burns calories. Running employs aerobic energy system (produces energy from oxygen, fat and carbohydrate), which turns to anaerobic lactic acid energy system (higher percent of carbohydrate used in relation to oxygen) if running short distances at high speed.
Guess what, any other cardio exercise like cross trainer, cycling, rowing etc. also works on cardiovascular system exactly same way. If some of them seems easier, just increase the intensity (pace and/or resistance). So running is just another way of doing cardio training – not exceptional and best way, just another way.
Incidentally, it is pointless paying a lot of attention to what muscles the particular cardio exercise engages. Cardio exercises are not resistance type of training and they do not do muscle damage (don’t stimulate, train muscles) or at least have very limited potential in that respect. Such objective is achieved via resistance training.
Running to lose weight
The first thing that comes to most people’s heads, when they decide to do some exercise for weight loss – running. Sure, that will burn the certain amount of calories. However, you can perfectly control your daily calorific intake by practising calculated diet routine, in which case you do not have to compensate any excessive energy grinding it off on a road or treadmill. Plus, conscious control of energy in and out allows the accuracy, which is vital for muscle maintenance during fat loss (too low calories result in muscle loss and slower metabolism).
Exercising is essential to safe, controlled and lasting weight (fat) loss but it is not cardio. Resistance training is vital to maintain muscle tissue while losing fat as muscle uses energy (especially when recovering after resistance training) and that is what keeps your metabolism up. Just running or other cardio exercises done on their own, do not help to maintain muscle. Muscle loss eventually leads to slower metabolism.
Another problem with running when it is done for weight loss – high impact. Each running step puts pressure on knee joints. The heavier and more overweight you are – the more your knee joints suffer. After a short while knee pain is inevitable. Even slim and fit people who run for decades, start experiencing knee problems, as the fact is – running wears knee joints.
Running and overall fitness
Very often people, who are good runners, get called – very fit. However, fitness consists of many components: muscle endurance, strength, power, body fat, cardiovascular fitness, agility, flexibility, balance, reaction speed, posture, coordination, motor skills etc. Running only works on cardiovascular fitness. So good runner is a good runner, not necessarily very fit…
Lose weight and get overall fit by doing more than just running, contact personal trainer and natural bodybuilder, Rolandas’PT4U in London.