Body & Mind

Should you be doing cardio?

As you have seen, I have been running. How else would I have been able to run that 21K. But that doesn’t mean I am a big cardio lover… How can that be?

Reason No. 1, why running shouldn’t be a daily activity:

Well, I don’t think running is for everyone and myself included. If you have not felt any pain in your joints ever, maybe running is for you, but other than that – if you feel your knees, your hips, your back – maybe running isn’t for you. Also, if you have some extra weight on you – running will put some unnecessary strain on your joints.

So why the hell why would I do it? It’s a challenge. Running is one of the most demanding biomechanics movements. You have to master it, before you do it. Look at the way you walk, what happens at your ankles, knees, hips. How you move your arms, your shoulders. What happens to our head when you walk/run? Since you are moving your entire body while running, the joint alignment and technique is paramount. Master it and then you can think about running.

While I’m running, I am constantly reevaluating the length of my stride. I am thinking about my knees not coming together and if I feel touching – it’s a signal – there’s something not working. I think about bracing my core, since it’s the foundation of everything. I am thinking if my arms are not moving side to side too much and crossing the middle of my body. At the same time, I think about keeping my shoulders loose and not falling too far forward. Can you think about all of that? If you can – join me on the run. If not – maybe start by brisk walking and think about these things. Go to a specialist and assess your weak/strong muscle groups. Fix problems you might have. A good trainer or a physiotherapist should be a friend of yours through every activity.

Reason No. 2 why, I am not running 3 times a week for long distances:

Most people start running, because it’s a cheap and easy way to burn calories, which means, there should be a reduction in weight. And initially there is. Running is very demanding activity, so you will burn tons of calories while you run. When you’re done with your run, your metabolism will down regulate and you’ll be back to feeling normal after your shower. When you keep running 2, 3, 4 times per week, you give a signal to your body that this is your baseline now. Your body is clever and will slow your metabolic rate, to be more efficient at burning calories while you run – that is – it will burn less calories, while you run at the same pace, for the same distance. After your initial few kilograms will have been lost, to make you lose more weight, you will have to run faster or longer. Or you will have to eat less… And that’s no fun!

So…

Running is good for maintaining healthy heart and cardio-vascular system, no doubt (IF it’s done with the right pulse and that you will know only if you’re using a heart rate monitor). But if your goal is to lose weight – running is not for you! Save yourself some time and some anguish. Start with weight training – that’s what will help you to boost your metabolism and lose those kilos.

Always remember – you want workouts to be a pleasurable experience, instead of it being a task. Also, you want to achieve your goals – don’t let the wrong activity interfere with your goals. Choose your activities wisely.

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