They look at you as if you’re mad and say:
“Oh I wouldn’t run, you’ll ruin your knees” or “I wouldn’t lift weights – it’s bad for you back”.
…. And so they sit down in front of the tv with a “sharing” size packet of crisps and proceed to devour the lot. Before heading to the shops in a car, to buy more food- making sure it is low-fat, of course – because it is healthier while trying to stop you from doing the thing that might drag you out of a hole. People feel guilty for not engaging in healthy behaviour and so convince themselves that it is unhealthy and then try to convince other people not to do it in order to feel better about their choices….
I suppose the question here is, which behaviour is “bad” for you? Is it the cardiovascular workout that gets blood pumping around your system and oxygenates your body? Is it the lifting of weights in order to put stress on your muscles and bones in order for them to react and become stronger? Or is it sitting down and consuming calories covered in sweetener and colourings emblazoned with logos that say things like “low in fat”?
You probably don’t need me to tell you which I think is bad for you.
There is of course the argument that running all the time leads to knees wearing out (untrue), and that doing lots of exercise is bad for you because you’ll simply wear out eventually. Well. Kind of untrue as well. We are organic beings and our tissues react to what we do. Muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments etc. get stronger when exposed to stressors. Granted, if you massively overdo it you end up with an overuse injury.
However, by sitting around being sedentary and generally not doing a lot which stresses your body physically (not mentally – that’s a bit of a different thing) – that is a pretty decent way to put yourself on the conveyor belt towards metabolic issues – type II diabetes, heart issues, etc. etc.
Now I’m not denying that lots and lots of a good thing isn’t necessarily bad. There are cases of people who exercise too much and end up getting injured or having issues with their hearts etc. But I’d wager that those people are few and far between when you consider the amount of people on the opposite end of the scale, taking blood pressure medicines, statins, asprin etc. on a daily basis. You do indeed occasionally hear about someone that collapses and dies at a race or while on a run, which, while being tragic, these incidences get reported disproportionately loudly by the press… if there was a press article everytime someone died of heart failure or some other metabolic disease you wouldn’t get time to hear anything else.
If you’ve been told that running is bad for you because of *something* – be it osteoarthritis, a hurty knee or whatever – or that you shouldn’t do some kind of exercise because of something else, consider the alternative… getting unfit, unhealthy and generally becoming more of a burden to the NHS because of metabolic illness. Then go and find a second opinion. Ok – so you might not be able to run 5k, but can you run for 20 seconds? Great. Could you increase that to 22 second intervals with 2 mins of walking? Could you improve on that over a period of weeks and months?
Great- get to it.
Ignore the naysayers…
Do stuff, but don’t overdo it.
Too much of a good thing is still too much, but not enough is certainly way too little.