We hear the same trope time and time again — you need to do cardio, and lots of it, to burn those calories and drop excess pounds. If you’re into strength training and weight lifting, you probably know by now that overdoing cardio, especially running, isn’t the best way to get fit and lose weight.
But did you know that running can also damage your joints and your face? This may come as a shock, especially if you run to stay in shape and look your best. But, sadly for runners, spending too much time pounding the pavement may actually contribute to early aging. Here’s how:
There are some positives to running, one of them being the “runner’s high” that some people experience after a long run. This endorphin rush makes you feel happy and can inspire you to keep pushing to run longer and longer distances.
But chasing the runner’s high could actually do you more harm than good. When you run, especially on pavement, the impact of your feet hitting the ground puts a lot of stress on your body. While an occasional jog is okay, your body has a threshold of how much running it can handle before the stress becomes too much and can negatively affect your health. Experts think that things start to take a turn when you hit the 12-19 miles per week mark.
It’s true that over-exercising is problematic no matter what workout you’re doing. But running is notorious for its impact on bone density. If you surpass 12-19 miles per week, you run the risk of decreasing your bone density, which leads to problems like osteoporosis. If you want to build your bone density during your workouts instead of lowering it, hang up the running shoes and start strength training.
Runner’s face is a lesser-known side effect of excessive running. It refers to the negative effect that running can have on your skin’s elasticity. In other words, running can cause your face to sag. That’s because running can increase free radical damage, which in turn causes damage to your skin’s collagen and elastin, according to Dr. Annet King.
If you’re a casual runner, you’re probably safe from runner’s face. But if you’re going out for very long runs, it’s probably time to scale back a bit if you want your skin to maintain its elasticity for as long as possible and reap the anti-aging benefits that come with fitness and exercise.
Anyone who’s gone for a long run, attend a tough spin class, or participated in any other cardio-intense workout can probably relate to the increased hunger you feel after one of those workouts. Some would go as far to call it hanger.
It’s natural to feel especially hungry after doing cardio, and probably reach for unhealthier food, too. After suffering through an hour on the treadmill, who really wants to eat a plain salad or steamed veggies and baked chicken? You feel like you deserve a reward for that miserable workout! But this instinct to load up on calories after a cardio workout can actually derail your fitness and weight loss goals. In addition to canceling out the calories you just burned, eating unhealthy food, especially sugar, can damage your skin’s collagen.
The Workout that Keeps You Looking Your Best
If you’re still focusing your workouts on cardio, it’s time to switch things up.
At QuickHIT Fitness Labs, we use a high-intensity training method that works your muscles and cardiovascular system, without causing any of the negative side effects of running. If you’ve worked out with us before, you know the QuickHIT Fitness Lab difference. Unlike the gym routines you’re used to, we focus on slow movements that work your muscles to failure each time. This allows you to both improve your body composition and get your heart pumping, without having to pound the pavement.