Sounds like a ridiculous question, right?
There is actually a perfectly good argument why running may actually increase your weight rather than reduce it. I thought this to be a worthy topic for discussion due to the apparent increase in people taking up the sport post Olympics. Lets take a look...
A survey commissioned by BMI Healthcare found that physiotherapists in London had seen a 20% increase in Olympic inspired patients suffering from sports injuries during the summer period. 81% of the Physiotherapists surveyed reported running as being the most injury prone sport. My assumption is this is most likely due to running being more accessible and therefore a more popular form of exercise taken up by larger portions of the population.
I certainly don't want to discourage anyone from adopting running as their chosen exercise routine, Simon and I are keen runners ourselves, but let's take a look at why running is so injury prone and how it can make you fat.
Running - injury prone and makes you fat!?
A headline like that is surely enough to discourage anyone from reaching for the trainers and taking to the path or pavement. But, it shouldn't.
Running has to be one of the easiest forms of exercise for most able bodied people to adopt. The benefits of exercise start with raising your heart rate and to achieve this all you really need to do is move your feet quicker than your usual walking pace. However, technique and diet must come into consideration.
Posture - yep, there's that word again, plays a big role in good running technique.
How we hold ourselves upright, our foot placement, are we over or under pronators and do we have suitably structured running shoes, is our warm up and cool down stretching routine appropriate - all relevant questions necessary to help us understand how to avoid running injuries.
This is not a one size fits all approach
If you're serious about running you may want to consider attending an educational event such as the Injury free running workshop with Champions Everywhere - held for 2 days in the Wicklow mountains.
Your other option is to ask your Physiotherapist to do a complete posture, full foot and lower limb assessment and advise on how best to approach running activity, suitable shoe type and will give a far higher accuracy in prescribing best suited orthotics if needed.
Let's get straight to the point on this one.
Balancing calorie intake vs energy expenditure can be pretty complicated and again is not a one size fits all approach.
Why running can make you fat, or more accurately - increase your weight gain (weight being how many people gauge how 'fat' they are), is down to two factors
- Muscle is denser (heavier) than Fat - you will usually gain muscle from running low to moderate distances
- If you are not careful, increasing your exercise may result in you consuming more calories than you expend = weight gain.
Personal incentives should play a rewarding part in everyone's exercise goals. But, be sensible.
It is a common misconception that because you have taken up jogging you 'need' to eat that little bit more.
Just because you were up at 6am and jogged for 45mins doesn't mean that Starbucks muffin is calorie-neutral when offset against your hard early morning efforts. It may astound you to realise that the muffin most likely contains more calories than what you burned during your run. So your run actually caused you to increase your calorie intake overall.
If you're a casual jogger seeking the health benefits of regular exercise then it may be best not increasing your calorie intake much if your aim is 'fat burning'. If you're training hard for a future event then adding sensible choice carbs to your diet is usually desirable.
So, for running newbies out there I hope this article has helped raise your awareness about these two important factors to consider.
Remember this information dos not substitute professional medical advice. It is always advised to have a medical assessment before starting a new exercise regime and any arising aches and pains should be assessed by a Physiotherapist.