Why Running Is Overrated
Every day, when I drive along Springfield Road in my home town of Brisbane, coming home from work at dusk, I see hundreds of people, all running up and down the path encircling my local park, each of them trying desperately to shed that little bit of extra weight so they can finally achieve that elusive perfect torso.
And it’s not just at dusk. Virtually every time I go out in my area, even late at night, approaching midnight, I see at least one or two runners.
Personally, while exercise is great, I think a lot of them are wasting their time.
Running is one of the most time-inefficient ways to lose weight you could possibly think of. It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s actually a really slow way to lose weight and burn calories.
Do you even realise how long you’d have to run for to run to burn off a solitary Big Mac containing 576 calories? Almost an hour at a moderate running pace. One hour out of 24 hours in each day – life is too short for that.
No, running and cardio certainly has its place, but I find that most people aren’t achieving the correct balance between cardio-based exercise what really works – put simply, lifting heavy stuff. Resistance training.
The real reason that you should spend far less time running and more time lifting weights is simple. It’s all down to the effects of each type of exercise on the body.
Running has a single-pronged approach on your body fat and metabolism. Resistance training has a multi-pronged effect. Put simply, all the time you spend not running does precisely diddly squat for you.
In contrast to this, the benefits of weightlifting and resistance exercise propagate throughout your body long after you’ve finished a weight session. This is because the more muscle you build up, the more energy your body needs to maintain this muscle. This results in passive weight loss as your body needs to use more energy all the time, even when you’re not doing anything.
The more muscle mass you build up through weight lifting, the more you will burn fat calories — even at rest. Passively. You can’t passively burn fat by running.
Not only this, but running has a notoriously high injury rate which most people are shamefully completely unaware of. The injury rate for runners is so high it’s actually ludicrous – 56% of all runners will suffer an injury due to their activity, according to this study. Tell the average person that they have a 56% of acquiring an injury through doing something like driving down to the local store and people would avoid driving like the plague.
It’s as if people think that the impact of constantly pounding your knees and legs against solid concrete is not going to have an effect on the body. Newsflash, people: it does. Especially over the long term.
Yes, resistance training also has a high injury rate but the key difference is that the potential for injury can be drastically reduced with the proper precautions; stretching, warming up, and proper and correct form and technique in your movement.
There is no such equivalent in the world of running; you cannot somehow reduce the impact of your entire body constantly hitting the pavement to the point where it won’t cause significant wear and tear on your joints.
In addition, several high-profile scientific studies have confirmed that the differences between walking and running to overall health benefits and weight loss are actually negligible, and you can obtain virtually all (and in some cases, a lot more) of the health benefits obtained by running simply through a brisk-paced walk instead, with none of the associated impact damage or wear and tear to your body.
So, even though you might enjoy running, the reality is if you want to strike a good balance between keeping weight off, maintaining a ripped and lean physique and keeping your joints and bones in good health, you should probably do a little less running and a little more weight and resistance training.