For good health, don’t overdo your exercise program.

The other day I was sitting in a park overlooking a beautiful lake when two young girls ran past me several times and eventually sat next to me on the same park bench to rest.  I said to them, “I guess you were running, was someone chasing you?”  They both laughed and said, “no, we are trying to stay healthy and fit”.  I said, “did you know that running will not make you fit or healthy?”  Both exclaimed, “I can’t believe that.  Many experts are recommending that we run to stay healthy and fit.”  And I answered, “maybe they haven’t told you the whole story.  While running can burn off calories and help people lose weight, it is not the most effective way to burn calories or to stay fit and healthy.  Running causes severe damage to the muscles and joints and is not a very good investment to burn calories.  Keep in mind that the heart is a muscle, it is not strengthened by running as it damages all muscles including the heart.  We can’t strengthen the heart with exercise stress and all exercise is stressful.  When you ladies ran by several times, I could not help but see your breasts bouncing which is certainly not good as the muscles attached to the breast can be stretched and damaged.  As we lose weight through running or any other aerobic exercise such as aerobic dancing or spinning, 50% of the weight we lose is muscle so not only do we lose muscle but we become flabby.  The best way to become fit and healthy is with some form of weight bearing exercise.  Moderate weight lifting, kettle bells, or walking with weights makes more sense because it strengthens the muscles while burning calories and building bone.  There is nothing healthy about running.  The major benefits of exercise come from doing brief and intense exercises.  Long distance runners, or those who do moderate running for an extended period of time like jogging an hour, are usually thin and gaunt while those who perform track sports that are brief but intense in nature such as the 100 yard dash or the 440 are very fit and muscular.  Most sports, whether it’s running or weight lifting, are usually overdone as the thought is, if I want to be better I have to do more.  More is never better.  Just the right intensity for a brief period of time, with plenty of rest between bouts of exercise, will stimulate the body to grow fit with toned muscles and a better, healthy outcome.  All I’m asking for you ladies to do is to rethink your exercise program, to maybe adopt kettle bells using the kettle bell swing for 30 to 60 seconds, rest for one or two minutes, and do this for five or six cycles.  You have probably exercised a couple of minutes and the whole procedure won’t take more than 15 or 20 minutes doing this one to three times a week with better cardiovascular function than if you ran an hour three or four times a week.  I would suggest to you ladies that you concentrate on a healthy diet, get rid of carbs, sugar and soft drinks, include an intense, brief, infrequent workout program and exercise only when you find that you thoroughly enjoy it.  Since exercise is stressful, it’s more important to include enough rest than more exercise.  Try this for six weeks and then meet me back here in the same spot and tell me how great you feel.  For good health, don’t overdo your exercise program.”