Being active is good. But could a lot of jogging put your health at risk instead of making it better?
Harder, Faster, Better?
Most of us know people entertaining us with stories of their personal running records. How their bodies ached and what mental power it took to shave off another five seconds or add another mile to the total track.
In short: how they ignored pain and warning whistles, ground their teeth and succeeded!
Danish researchers wondered if those guys have that much to be proud of and looked at the data of 1,098 joggers and 3,950 healthy non-joggers. They show that more isn’t alway better:
- Compared with non-joggers, people who jogged 1 to 2.4 hours per week had the lowest total mortality rate
- Among the joggers, the lowest mortality rate was found among light joggers
- The mortality rate for “strenuous” joggers was nearly as high as for sedentary persons
For optimum health the Danes suggest a jogging frequency of 2 – 3 times per week at slow pace. Which is pretty much in line with previous findings from a large US study.
To Performances Cause Top Wear
Joggers and other recreational athletes often envy the feats professionals put out. They look at their 1h 10k weekend runs and contrast it with record times in the vicinity of 2 hours for 42k. Compared to that whatever you do seems like a joke.
But the professionals have to pay a price. Many soccer players, for example, are burnt out at 30 and count themselves lucky if they don’t have to look back at more than half a dozen stress fractures.
Steffi Graf, the world’s best tennis player for a decade, told an Australian newspaper that professionals “age much earlier.” She prematurely ended her career when the toll on her body became too great.
Among NFL football players, for a final example, 1 in 3 will suffer from dementia at younger ages than the rest of the population. They also are four times more likely to die from brain diseases and have an average life expectation of 55 to 60.
Do You Run For Records Or Health?
You have to realize one thing: training for peak performance that goes to the absolute limit is about reaching a short-term goal. Long-term health is not part of that plan.
If your aim in fitness is staying healthy for as long as possible you need a different strategy.