Look before I get loads of hate mail I don’t hate jogging! I believe if you really enjoy an exercise and it makes you feel great then go ahead and do it. You’re much more likely to stick to something you enjoy rather than doing something you hate right? Also most of us can agree that going for a jog is much better than sitting down in front of the TV. Personally I find it really boring but that’s my opinion!
However every year (usually just before summer) I see loads of people hit the streets and parks to go jogging with a majority wanting to get in better shape obviously. The trainer in me is always tempted to stop them and ask them what are their goals. If they were to tell me that they’re training for a 10k run or half marathon etc or that’s what they enjoy then I would say ‘Fair enough’.
However I have a sneaky feeling a lot of them want basically to look better, perform better in a sport or get ‘fitter’. If this were the case I would actually recommend something else for them. You see jogging does have quite a few negative elements to it. Lets have a look at some.
High impact – Every time you land on your feet when running (especially on tarmac) the impact is huge. In fact it’s much more than your body weight so if you’re carrying a few extra kg’s guess what? Even more IMPACT! Your running technique needs to be VERY good in order for you to avoid niggles and injuries. A good running technique is about as common as a white Rhino! I’m a big fan of sprinting and obviously this impacts heavily also but remember an average sprint session you might cover 800m twice a week whereas a average jog might be 5km (5000m) twice a week. BIG difference.
Losing muscle mass – Take a quick look at long distance athletes and what do you notice? They have very low fat but they have very low muscle mass too which is why they look ‘gangly’ and ‘over worked’ as I like to put it. Is this how you want to look and do you think it looks healthy?
The more muscle mass you have the higher your metabolism will be. READ THAT AGAIN. Muscle is metabolically active so if you want better health and to look better then you don’t want to lose it. As we age we lose muscle mass and that’s why a lot of people look thin as they hit their 70’s or 80’s. The body is the master of adaptation and when we do a lot of long distance running it says to itself that basically it doesn’t need muscle for running long distances. Also long distance training will make you produce more slow twitch (endurance) muscle fibres which are smaller and will give you less power and strength. Is that what you want?
Very few sports are just aerobic – Watch a game of football or basketball. Do the players just run around at the same constant speed all the time? NEGATIVE! They sprint to tackle a player or make a ‘run’ or they spin and jump to make a dunk and then they recover walking or slow jogging. It is a mixture or aerobic (breathing) and anaerobic (not breathing) work. That’s why short sprint training with short rests is much more ‘true to life’ and effective than just jogging for hours on end. In most sports one of the best attributes is speed and/or power. YOU WON’T GET THIS FROM JOGGING!
So what should you do? That will be in part 2.
Nos vemos pronto amigos!