Is running good enough exercise from a fitness point of view?
Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise. It’s low-impact, easy to do, inexpensive, and doesn’t require any equipment aside from a good pair of running shoes. Running is also effective because it stimulates just about every muscle in your body at once, including your heart and lungs.
But does that mean running is good enough for your health? Is it a full-body fitness exercise?
Is it enough to keep you fit?
Is running good exercise? The answer is NO. Is not the complete answer. I’ll explain why in detail. What are the components of fitness?
Muscular strength, Muscular endurance, Flexibility, Cardiovascular endurance and Body composition are the 6 main components of fitness. They determine how healthy you are or can be.
Running can help to improve cardio-respiratory fitness, but that’s about it when compared with other exercises specially designed for each component.
When we talk about aerobics which relates directly to heart, then runners will have an advantage over any other form of exercise because long distance running requires high stamina levels, so much so that even if a person has a much higher age than you, he/she can outrun you in a marathon.
But same doesn’t hold true when it comes to other components of fitness. To say the least, running is much less effective than a gym workout or Yoga & Pilates or any other aerobic exercise.
I know a lot of people who do nothing but run, and they have big bellies, i.e., high body fat percentage, so imagine what’s going on inside your body!
Building lean muscles needs weight training, not just cardio exercises that include running as well as cycling etc. In order to build muscle, you need to lift weights at the gym.
It helps to improve muscular strength and endurance. This also improves bone health by increasing osteoblast activity which is very important for women, especially after menopause. Running doesn’t provide the level of muscle relief and stimulation that weight training does. Well, Yoga Pilates and other core exercises certainly do, though, on a more subtle level.
That’s why I believe people who can afford to go to the gym or own home gyms should be smart enough not to waste money on cardio machines like treadmills, ellipticals etc., if they want better results.
Research says that there is nothing new in treadmills until you make it an endurance machine with a motor.
That proves my point further because running long distances has its pros, but even there, a lot of people die year after year doing something called Marathon Death Syndrome so imagine what will happen when you put them on a treadmill at too high speed. For too many years!
I always say that we need to move away from the mindset of doing cardio in order to stay healthy and fit. There is more to fitness than running. In fact, there are several other effective forms of exercise under different categories which help us get more out of life.
Instead of accumulating stress, it would be great if you could accumulate some positive form of energy from within using breathing techniques, meditation etc., through Yoga & Pilates or Qigong exercises.
All these can help you feel better and improve your overall well-being. So whatever you do, try a variety of exercises rather than one kind for a balanced approach towards fitness.
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