It’s resolution season (again)! Whether you are a believer in making fitness resolutions on New Year’s Eve or an any other arbitrary date, you should be mindful and embrace your present reality. Regardless of your timing to turn over a new leaf, subjecting yourself to an injury is never on anyone’s resolution list.
Many people set resolutions to “run 5 miles” or perhaps a bit loftier, “Run a marathon”. Both are attainable goals if you are honest with your current state of health. Let’s say that your goal is to run the Boston marathon in 2018, yet you haven’t even walked a brisk mile in over a year, you are likely going to cause an injury along the way. A conservative estimate to train for a marathon properly AND to avoid injuries, is around 6 months provided that you are currently able to run 3-6 miles at least 3 days per week. If you have had a sedentary lifestyle over the last 6 months or more, it is recommended to take a year to build up to marathon worthy status or perhaps adjust your goal to a half marathon in 6 months.
Many resolutions are centered around weight loss. The question then becomes, does running burn more calories than walking? The answer may seem obvious, but it’s really, “It depends”. Certainly, rigorous exercise burns more than moderate exercise. However, one of the major tradeoffs between the two is your risk to injury. Walking a mile at brisk pace of 5 mph (12 minute mile) will burn the roughly the same number of calories as running a mile at 6 mph (10 minute mile). Your risk of injury is less if you walked. If you ran a mile at 7 mph (8.5 minute mile), you are certainly going to burn more over the same distance. Ultimately, your current fitness level should be how you determine your “resolution”. Research suggest that starting a new aerobic program should be done gradually to lessen your risk of injury. Start by walking briskly for 30-45 minutes 3-4 days per week. Focus on proper movement and body mechanics that feel natural. DO NOT concern yourself over proper ‘postures’ or gait. EVERYONE of us is different (as I explained in previous blogs). Those ‘posturologists’ (snicker, snicker) who tell you to “turn this foot out” and “rotate that hip in”, are trying to make your body into something it may not ever naturally achieve and hence create injuries you would have never otherwise have been susceptible to. And when these injuries do occur (and they will) you will likely be convinced that it was all your fault.
So, if you are one of the many that are about to embark on a quest for a new ‘you’, then my ultimate recommendation is to embrace the current ‘you’ first. Build towards your goals instead of risking your health and ultimately self-confidence (when you do not achieve the resolution) and inevitably quitting until next year’s spark for a resolution enters your head. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the ‘you’ now. If you want to improve upon ‘you’, great, do it for ‘you’ and be smart about it!
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You”