Running to Improve Your Health & Fitness 10 Pros and Cons
Updated: Feb 19
Taking up running is a favourite exercise activity than many people consider doing to help shed a few pounds and improve their health and fitness and why not it's arguably one of the most efficient and easiest ways to get your body moving. Having said that here are a few pros and cons you may wish to consider if you are thinking about taking up running to help you shed a few pounds!
1. It's right outside your front door be that at home or your office or on holiday, what could be easier?
2. It's relatively inexpensive to get started. Make sure you purchase a good pair of running shoes, ideally from a specialist running shop where they can check your feet biomechanics and allow you to try on various shoes. I would personally avoid the large sports stores, you may get a good bargain, but I think your feet are worth spending a little more on don't you?
3. It's time efficient, as mentioned earlier it right outside your front door and you can benefit hugely from just running for 10 – 20 minutes a few times per week.
4. Fresh air, yep, the great outdoors, especially if you spend most of your time sat at a desk, staring at a computer. That 10 – 20 minutes can revitalise you and make you far more productive when you sit down to work again.
5. Improving your bone strength - It is estimated that around 3 million people in the UK have osteoporosis, source: (National Osteoporosis Society). Weight-bearing exercise such as running and weight-resisted exercise, i.e. weight training will help to improve bone strength.
So what about the cons?
1. If you are carrying excess weight the stress and strain this puts on your ankles, knees, hips and back may lead to injury even after only the gentlest of runs.
2. Poor body mechanics, i.e. you may have flat feet which in itself should not prevent you from running, I spent over 20 years running with weighted rucksacks on my back in the Army with my flat feet and managed to survive. I would highly recommend getting yourself checked over by either a sports physiotherapist who will assess your overall body structure or podiatrist with an interest in running. This small investment could pave your way to pain-free running.
3. Overdoing it, typically the first few weeks in January you'll see the gyms bursting with new members and the streets not quiet over-run with joggers but certainly an increase. All too often these joggers are doing off their own back without any real guidance on how to put together a progressive running/jogging program. Save yourself some pain and hopefully stay the course get some professional advice.
4. Your heart, I've spoken about the excess stress on your joints which can be felt almost immediately certainly not long after a run. Your heart can be a different matter, without wanting to scaremonger here if you don't know your full medical status, for example, your current blood pressure levels, taking that 10 – 20-minute run may prove to be very dangerous. Once again get some advice and also consider running with a heart rate monitor so you can at least stay within a reasonable heart rate range.
5. Running in the dark, uneven terrain can be a hazard, wear a head torch and don't rely upon street lights, wearing reflective clothing is advisable. The other issue I think about more for women than men although it can equally apply to both is your safety. I would always recommend telling someone where you're going and how long you expect to be. Also, consider wearing a whistle just in case you need to raise the alarm.
So there you have it 10 pros and cons for running to improve your health and fitness. What activity are you thinking of taking up to improve your health over the coming months and years?
If you would like to discuss your health and fitness goals for 2019 feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a call.