Ask anyone who does any minimal amount of exercise what they do, and chances are, they run. Running is the most popular exercise, second only to walking. It is the staple in health and fitness.
Running is a must do in virtually any sport. These include boxing, basketball, football, soccer, and tennis, to name but a few. In most countries including the USA, one must past a running test to join the military. This is because running is considered the king of cardiovascular exercises.
As a competitive sport running is extremely popular. It is also considered “the most democratic” sport in that it is arguably the cheapest sport. And you almost always can tell the winner without the need for a panel of judges, unlike other sports such as boxing.
Running vs. Jogging
Sometimes people say they run while what they do is jog (rarely vice versa). What’s the difference?
Well, the difference is just the pace. Jogging is a more leisurely pace of running. That is, jogging is slower. Not sure how they came up with figures, but they say that “running” at a pace less than 6 miles per hour is jogging, while anything faster is running.
So, Is Running the Best Exercise to Get Fit?
That it is virtually synonymous with fitness makes running the exercise of choice for most people. And it has its benefits for health and fitness. It is especially good for your cardiovascular health, your immune system, and may help you live a longer healthier life.
However, for building strength or burning fat, the running pales when compared to some other forms of exercise. Doing these other exercises can help you lose fat faster and keep it off.
Moreover, the other exercise not only help you burn fat faster, but may improve cardiovascular health and strength as well. I’d rather get both worlds, if you ask me. Plus, you can complete them in a fraction of the time it takes to do those long runs outside or on a treadmill.
One of those more effective exercises involves running, but you change the technique. So, if you’re fun of running or relish the “runner’s high” you’re don’t need to feel like you’re losing out. What is it?
It’s called sprinting. And, no, has nothing to do with what made Usain Bolt a legend. Plus, you don’t need to compete with anyone outside of yourself.
Sprinting has consistently been shown to be more effective than continuous long-distance running for losing weight, especially belly fat. Doing high intensity interval training (HIIT), where you alternate sprints with low-speed runs or walking, may help you lose fat, especially around your midsection.
Weight training too has also been shown to be more effective in burning off excessive fat compared to running. The advantage of weight training is that it improves resting metabolism, so you’re burning fat even when not actually exercising.
All the same, if you love running, or it is the only exercise you can do for any reason, by all means continue to do it. It is still a great way to keep healthy and fit. Plus, it has been shown that running as little as 5 minutes a day could significantly lower your risk of dying prematurely (see: New York Times).