Running will hurt your heart

As is always the case with research interpretation for the general public there is a media need to create sensationalism. Sex sells, death sells, crime, destruction, and financial ruin all sell. So printing a segment from a peer reviewed abstract is just about the kiss of death for any journalist.

So last week’s publication from the Mayo clinic about heart health and endurance training led to headlines such as, ‘Marathon running can ‘scar’ the heart, researchers warn.’ Scary right?

You all know I am not a runner. I don’t know how I became the ‘ant-running’ guy, however it appears to be an adage that is sticking, and I really don’t mind. To be fair, I am not anti-running, I am simply attempting to educate people as to the true nature of running and your body and health.

This latest research actually exemplifies what I have been talking about for a long time. Long term long duration low intensity exercise is not that good for you.

People do not recognize just how physically demanding and taxing on your body running can be. You are performing thousands of plyometric lunges on hard surfaces, with poor footwear, all the while slowing your metabolism. How is this good for you?

The Mayo study shows actual evidence that long term running can cause damage to the heart and arteries from the changes that occur to heart function. Yes, scarring in these areas is very bad for your health.

Here are some basic points that you need to know about running and other long duration activities.

  • Your body was not designed to log the miles current endurance running programs advocate
    • Runners today over train for many months out of the year
    • Overuse injuries are so common amongst runners that they think it is normal
    • I typically decrease runners total volume by half or more, ad in a solid strength and conditioning program and watch them all hit personal best times
  • Slowing your metabolism
    • Efficient to your body is expending less energy. So the less energy you can use to accomplish a task the happier your body is
    • The longer you can run, cycle, or swim the slower your metabolism will work
    • It is simple physiology
  • You will decrease your strength and muscle
    • Don’t believe me? Come watch me put my marathoner’s through basic strength training exercises
  • You will not improve your cardiovascular health
    • Short duration high intensity exercise has been shown in study after study to have a much larger and more positive impact on your cardiovascular health
  • Running and cycling are terrible for your bodies movement
    • Both of these activities shorten joint ranges of motion leading to a host of issues and potential injury down the road

Here is the deal. If you love to run – then run. Go for it. But please, please, please, do it right! Learn from a coach, not a staff member at a retail outlet. And make sure you have a good strength and conditioning coach and that at least 50% of your workout time is spent doing full body, high weight, full range strength training.

If you run because you want to look hot. Stop it. You won’t.

Want a nice ass? Squats, deadlifts, and lunges. Sexy back? Pullups. Lean legs? Step-ups and sled drags. Arms with some defined shape? Pushups, military press, and some dumbbell shoulder work.

If you want to be healthy long term: short duration, high intensity interval training is much better for you in both the short term and in the long term.

If you love to run, run. If you do it to be healthy, fit, jacked, or feel a little more sexy. Stop it. It won’t work.

-Strength Coach Taylor

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