Archive for the tag - running

5 Treadmill Mistakes You’re Probably Making!

653_1Treadmill walks, jogs, runs or sprints can be a great way to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping. But there are a lot of mistakes that even avid gym-goers make.

Here are 5 common treadmill mistakes:

  1. Spending too much time. When it comes to time on the treadmill, more isn’t more. If you’re spending 30 or 45 minutes or more on a treadmill, you may be cannibalizing your results. Longer cardio sessions result in the release of an anabolic hormone called cortisol that reduces protein synthesis, facilitates the conversation of protein to glucose and stops tissues growth. It’s also associated with increases in fat stores around the body’s midsection. Instead of a low intensity, long cardio session on the treadmill, challenge yourself. Do more in less time. Maybe even try high intensity interval training.
  2. Holding on. Please, stop holding onto the treadmill. By holding on, you’re negating the intensity of your workout – especially if you’re using an incline. In fact, it’s estimated that holding onto the treadmill reduces calories burned by 20% – 25%. It also worsens posture, balance and doesn’t translate to real world gains. If you’re running on a street or track, there’s nothing to hold on to. Let go.
  3. Static stretching. A lot of runners engage in static stretching before their treadmill session. It’s the type of stretching wherein you hold a pose for an amount of time – like touching your toes. However, recent studies suggest that static stretching decreases strength and power and increases injury risk. Replace static stretching with dynamic stretching like jumping jacks or arm circles.
  4. Not using the incline. Many runners ignore the incline – mostly because it makes the workout more challenging. But that’s exactly why you should love and use it! For every 1% increase in the incline, you expend 4% more energy. This is especially useful if you’re not able to increase your speed, but still want an extra challenge. It also shifts muscle use upward – and can give you a great butt workout.
  5. You’re on autopilot. Doing the same workout every day gives you the same results. Most cardio exercisers cruise through their workout session. Some are even able to talk on the phone or text while exercising. I’ve got news for you: If you can text while running, you’re not running fast enough. If you want enhanced results, you need to increase the intensity of your workout; you will always get out of your workout what you put into it. So instead of doing the same old treadmill workout, do something that’s intense and challenging. And then keep pushing yourself.

What other mistakes do you see people making on the treadmill? Share them in the comments below!

Run More, Live Longer.

John JeffersonWith more than 600 muscles in the human body, one thing is clear: We are meant to move! And thanks to a new study published in the American College of Cardiology, we’re learning how important movement – and running, in particular – is to a longer life.

Over the course of 15 years, researchers examined more than 55,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 to determine whether or not there’s a relationship between running and longevity. During the study, 3,413 participants died including 1,217 deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease.

By crunching the data, researchers discovered that runners have an overall 30% lower risk of death from all causes. When it comes to cardiovascular disease, runners were 45% less likely to die compared to non-runners. On average, runners lived an astounding three years longer than non runners. Individuals benefited from running regardless of age, sex, body mass index, health conditions, smoking or alcohol use.

Moreover, researchers found that even slow or less frequent runners still enjoyed benefits. Runners who ran less than one hour per week experienced the same mortality benefits as runners who ran more than three hours. In other words, more running isn’t necessarily better from the perspective of longevity.

If you want to live longer, it’s time to get off your computer or away from your smartphone. Give yourself the free and wonderful gift of a good run.

Is Swimming Better Exercise Than Running?

Dear Davey,

I used to run a lot, but I’ve recently taken up swimming which I really enjoy. However, I’m wondering which is a better workout? Swimming? Or running?

From,
Lucas

sexymaleswimmersHey Lucas,

When comparing swimming to running, there are a few big differences.

The first is convenience. For one, swimming requires a pool – and often a pool membership. If you’re traveling or on vacation, you might not have access to a lap pool. Second, swimming requires more preparation. In addition to showering before entering the pool, you’ll need to pack a bathing suit, towel, goggles, etc. Running, on the other hand, is much more convenient and accessible. You can do it on any street and only need a pair of sneakers.

In terms of calories, it really depends on intensity. If you run and swim with the same intensity, the caloric breakdown is quite similar; there’s not a huge difference between the two. Personally, I find it much easier to push myself on a treadmill versus swimming in a pool – but that is a matter of preference.

There are health risks involved in both running and swimming. Regardless of the exercise, there’s always the risk of injury. It’s important to consult with a physician before starting any routine. Having said that, swimming provides lower amounts of impact on the body’s joints. Because swimming is low impact, it’s a form of cardiovascular exercise often favored by the elderly and individuals with joint or knee issues.

Above and beyond these details, there’s another important variable to consider: enjoyment. Looking forward to a workout is a huge motivating factor; if you enjoy your workout, you’re more likely to stick with it. And a good workout is a consistent workout.

In other words, if you prefer swimming to running, embrace it!

Love,
Davey

 

Should You Jog In Place At A Red Light?

dont-walk-signI’m sure you’ve seen it before. You’re driving along and someone is running on the sidewalk. They hit a busy intersection and the light is red; to avoid cooling down, the exerciser jogs in place. And you have a chuckle because they look ridiculous.

Most trainers will note that jogging while jogging in place burns more calories than sitting on the couch, the red light dance that most joggers perform doesn’t accomplish much. In fact, there are a few other strategies to try that are far more effective.

If your goal is to have a long, steady-pace run (for example, if you’re training for a 5k or marathon), then you shouldn’t stop running at all. Instead, turn right or left and go down a different block. Zig-zag along your running route and cross when you’re able. Double back if you need to – but don’t break your stride.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to incinerate some calories and body fat, opt for some high intensity interval training. As I’ve said before, it’s the type of cardio that burns fat without muscle – and it’s what I often use in my own workout. It creates some serious results. To make your run into a high intensity interval workout, sprint as fast as you can until you reach a red light. Catch your breath. Then, sprint to the next red light. It’ll kick your ass, but they don’t call it high intensity for nothing.

Another option is using red lights to strength train. When you reach a red light, drop and do push-ups until it turns green. Or, for a real challenge, perform burpees.

Alternatively, you can use red lights to perform dynamic stretches – especially if stretching is something that you usually skip. Dynamic stretches are stretches that you perform while moving, like swinging your leg out or lunging forward and lifting your heel repeatedly.

Or you can just keep doing the red light dance to the delight of passersby. :)

Does Running and Walking Burn the Same Amount of Calories?

Dear Davey,

I’ve always been told that it doesn’t matter if you walk a mile or run a mile. Regardless, you burn the same amount of calories. After all, a mile is a mile. Is that really true?

From,Jon

running-shoes-male_650x366Dear Jon,

Your question actually points to a very common misconception! Yes, a mile is always a mile. That doesn’t change. But the energy required to move your body across the distance varies depending on your speed.

In fact, there have been numerous studies on the topic including this paper from California State University. For the study, 15 male and 15 female college students were recruited. One day, participants ran a mile in 10 minutes. On another day, they walked a mile in just over 18 minutes. Afterwards, they sat quietly for 30 minutes.

The data was very clear. While walking burned 88.9 calories, running burned 112.5. Moreover, after running, participants continued to burn calories at a higher rate compared to walking. After the mile walk, 21.7 calories were burned. After the mile run, on the other hand, 46.1 calories were burned. In total, the run resulted in 43% more calories burned.

But wait there’s more.

The mile run took less time. And with our busy schedules, efficiency is certainly something to consider. If you want to get a lot of workout bang in a short amount of time, running definitely comes out on top.

The bottom line is that it takes more energy to move our bodies at high rates of speed. A more intense workout simply burns more calories. While walking is a great form of exercise – and certainly less likely to result in injury – it won’t result in the same calorie burn as a run.

Love,Davey

Specialized Running Shoes Don’t Reduce Injury Risk.

Screen-shot-2010-09-01-at-3.52.49-PMIf you’ve ever been to a running store, you’ve probably noticed an extensive selection of specialized shoes. The salespeople are often trained to examine your foot type, and then make recommendations based on your arch. There are shoes for high, low or normal arches with specialized midsoles and cushions; the idea is that these arch-specific shoes reduce the injury risk of the runners who wear them.

But is this true?

It’s a question that the U.S. military asked before investing in arch-specific shoes for their soldiers.

In a subsequent study involving male and female marine recruits, researchers divided participants into two groups. In the first group, marines were given shoes specific to their arch type. In the second group, marines were given a stability shoe regardless of their arch type. The study controlled for other known injury risk factors including smoking, prior fitness level, etc.

After crunching the data, researchers discovered that there was little difference in injury risk. And in other related studies on the same subject, researchers actually found a slightly elevated risk of injury in arch-specific running shoes.

Instead of listening to salespeople or buying into marketing hype, experts agree that the best way to find a running shoe is to try it on and take it for a spin. If there is pain or discomfort, try a different shoe. If it feels right, trust your body and buy it.

 

Is The Treadmill Easier Than Running Outside?

male-legs-treadmill-running-resized-600The treadmill definitely has its advantages – not the least of which is convenience. But when it comes to running on the treadmill versus running outside under comparable conditions, are exercisers cutting their results short? And if exercising on a treadmill is easier, how can runners account for the difference?

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research set out to answer those questions. Researchers enlisted the help of 14 participants ages 20 – 26 and tracked the amount of energy that they burned on a treadmill. Then, participants completed the same walk outside.

Researchers discovered that running outside requires about 10% more energy. This increased energy requirement, according to researchers, can be attributed to breezes, slightly uneven terrain and other variables that come into play outdoors. If the wind becomes stronger, the amount of energy required to maintain a given speed increases even more.

This doesn’t mean that the treadmill is a bad choice. However, if you’re training for an outdoor run such as a 5K or marathon, you need to take this disparity into account. The researchers recommend adding a 3% incline to the treadmill to simulate the energy requirement for outdoor running.

Did you prefer running outside or on the treadmill? Why? Let me know in the comments below!

 

What’s Better: Swimming or Running?

Dear Davey,

I’m trying to get in better shape, and I was wondering which gives you a better cardio workout – swimming or running?

Thanks,
Luis

0627-ent-olympic-swimmers-pool_awHey Luis,

First of all, both swimming and running provide great workouts. And either is better than sitting on your butt watching television. However, there are some pretty big differences between the two types of cardio.

It’s important to note that comparing running to swimming can be a lot like comparing apples to oranges. They’re both very different – and the effectiveness of either workout can depend on a number of variables. For example, a University of Florida study found that swimmers burn 44% more calories when a pool is heated to 68 degrees Fahrenheit rather than 91 degrees. The speed at which you swim or run also has a big influence. As does any incline you might experience during your run. In other words, it’s not that simple.

However, there are a few things that are quite definitive. Swimming is low-impact, and so it’s a great option for people with joint issues. Swimming will also give your upper a body a good endurance workout (running does not), assuming that’s something you want.

When it comes to calories burned, running does come out on top – but again, it depends on all those previously mentioned variables. Here are some general guidelines for a 155-lb individual who is exercising for 30 minutes:

  • Moderate intensity swimming: 214 calories
  • Running at 5mph: 298 calories
  • Vigorous swimming: 344 calories
  • Running at 10mph: 632 calories

If you can hold a 10mph pace, then running is advantageous from a purely caloric perspective. But if you run at 5pmh and can swim at a vigorous pace, then swimming could be a better choice for burning calories and getting your heart pumping.

Personally, my favorite cardio workout is high intensity interval training wherein I alternate between jogging and sprinting for a set duration. It provides a ton of amazing benefits; it doesn’t take a lot of time, minimizes muscle mass loss and provides a huge metabolic boost that you won’t get from steady-pace cardio.

But at the end of the day, the best form of cardio is the cardio that you’ll stick with. Find what works for you!

Love,
Davey

Run Your Feelings.

running-alonePeople do it all the time. You’ve probably done it. I’ve definitely done it. It’s called eating your feelings – and it’s a dangerous and misguided technique for self-soothing.

Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of eating to fill a void in your stomach, it’s eating to satisfy an emotional need – and often involves cravings for very specific foods like pizza, ice cream, potato chips, etc. Because emotional eating usually involves unhealthy comfort foods, subsequent feelings of guilt or remorse are common.

In a nutshell, you eat because you’re angry, sad, etc. And then, once the guilt kicks in, you end up feeling even worse. It’s a downward spiral that serves no one.

While working with a professional to process your feelings is probably the healthiest alternative, I’ve got another, more accessible solution. Run your feelings. Hear me out.

Few things clear your mind like a good run. For me, running becomes something of a moving meditation. It’s right foot, left foot, right foot… One step, two steps, three steps. Breathe in, breathe out. And instead of having your mind race around an upsetting idea or thought, running allows your to channel and release that energy in a physical way.

Running allows me to take what’s in my mind and leave it on the payment.

And, unlike emotional eating, emotional running does serve your body with movement, exercise and a good sweat. Moreover, no feelings of guilt; instead, only the release of dopamine, serotonin and other neurotransmitters resulting in the euphoric runners high.

Do you ever run or exercise as a way to cope? Let me know in the comments below.

Study: Are Barefoot Running Shoes Dangerous?

vibram_fivefingers_flow_1Over the past few years, barefoot running has been gaining traction in the running community. In fact, it’s estimated that minimalist shoes now make up 15% of the $6.5 billion running shoe market.

There is some science to back up the trend. As I reported early, barefoot running can increase efficiency:

Oxygen consumption is typically 4% to 5% lower in barefoot running, which is attributed to factors including moving the shoes’ weight (energy demand increases about 1% for every 100g of additional mass on the foot), the bending resistance and friction of the sole, midsole energy absorption, and energy lost to metatarsophalangeal joint stiffness.

A recent study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise is adding more science to the barefoot running debate. For the study, researchers examined 36 experienced runners over a 10-week period. All participants underwent an MRI before the study and were then divided into two groups of either traditional running shoes or five finger barefoot running shoes.

Participants in the barefoot group followed the suggested industry protocol by easing into the barefoot running shoes:

They did one short (1-2 mile) run in the minimalist shoes the first week, and added an additional short run each week so that they ran at least 3 miles in the new shoes by week three. They were then told to add mileage in the minimal shoes as they felt comfortable, with the goal of replacing one short run per week in traditional shoes with the new shoes.

At the end of the 10-week study, all participants were again given MRIs. According to researchers, the runners in the barefoot group showed significant signs of stress including bone marrow edema (inflammation causing excessive fluid in the bone).

One researcher noted:

Whenever a bone is impacted by running or some other repetitive action, it goes through a normal remodeling process to get stronger. Injury occurs when the impact is coming too quickly or too powerfully, and the bone doesn’t have a chance to properly remodel before impact reoccurs.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that barefoot running or minimalist running shoes are necessarily bad. Instead, the study suggests that a longer transition period may be advisable. If you’ve been running your whole life in traditional running shoes, give yourself more than a few weeks to become accustomed.

Personally, I prefer the Nike Free Run shoes. They’re light, flexible and emulate barefoot running while still providing some support. In fact, my feet didn’t fit properly in the five finger shoes – so they weren’t an option for me. The Free Run shoes also come in different levels of support to help your transition. Even so, it’s taken me almost a year and several pairs of Nike Free Run shoes to fully transition and commit to the minimalist sneakers.

Have you ever tried minimalist running shoes? Let me know about it in the comments below!

Disclaimer: This isn’t a paid endorsement or sponsorship of Nike Free Run sneakers.