I once weighed in at 20 stone/127kg/280 pounds and if I’m being totally honest I was probably heavier but was never brave enough to stay on the scale to confront that realisation.
So, eventually, I took action…
Initially kick started by the low carb Atkins diet, however if I wanted to successfully maintain my weight loss I had no other option but to increase my level of physical activity.
It took a while to find an exercise that felt right, as I didn’t want to engage in team sports, I couldn’t commit financially to regular gym membership and wearing florescent, skin tight lycra dancing to up tempo Latin songs (otherwise known as Zumba) didn’t really appeal to my inherent anti-social nature, so I took up running…a solitary, physical activity that would literally allow me to move at my own pace.
The problem being, there are so many myths surrounding running you would almost think these fables were written exclusively by the brothers Grimm. More often than not, the tales of legend I hear are from casual non-runners who confidently assert that running weakens your joints and over the long term damages your bone structure beyond repair.
I get it…
We’ve all heard the rumours that running is bad for your knees and causes the early onset of arthritis but just how many runners do you know who have bad knees? How many regular runners do you know who have arthritis? Surely if running was the sole cause of these conditions wouldn’t runners, simply stop running?
As strange as it may sound our bodies are perfectly designed to move, in fact running was probably one of the very first methods of travel our ancestors used to cover large distances before they were ever able to ride on horses, row on canoes, or get stuck in traffic.
Full disclosure; this post does carry bias so I won’t bore you with information regarding studies identifying people who run consistently, generally tend to have less arthritis compared to their non-running counterparts. Runners tend to have a lower chance of hip replacement, not to mention, other independent studies revealing that running is not the cause of osteoarthritis of the knee but can help prevent it.
But let’s momentarily cast aside the issue of running as there is a larger issue that lives somewhere over the rainbow and just like Dorothy I want to see if I can get there!
There was a time before this mainstream creation called “the internet” touched our lives we stored more faith in the authority of the “educated” scholar; esteemed individuals who embarked on a higher level of academic study. It was these knowledgeable beings who had access to large rectangular things known as books and it was within these hardcovered tomes that much knowledge and research was contained within…
But with (arguably) too much information, the playing field has been levelled so now instead of blindly going with my GP’s diagnosis, I am armed with enough information so that I can question my GP’s assessment, and even investigate further and look at alternate solutions to problems.
There was a time where running was deemed to be damaging and truth be told it isn’t the best physical undertaking if you happen to be on the heavier side, so I’m pretty sure these were genuine concerns; but science is really about finding objective truth. That truth is based on research, testing and collecting evidence from various independent studies, that over time may slowly merge into a general consensus.
So even if there was a study to suggest that moderate running was bad for you (although I could only find articles on the negative effects of excessive running and only if you had certain medical conditions) thank goodness people like Professor James Fries or Dr Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo (among others) who decided to carry out studies to offer a wider understanding.
So here is the hypocritical part…
Just because I am the author of this post, this does not mean that I am exempt from stating personal opinions based on feeling rather than fact (because even if global warming is a hoax, does it really matter? Isn’t just a good idea to recycle and care for our environment anyway? But I digress…) It’s perfectly okay not to know something and perhaps more importantly it’s okay to revert back to the mentality of your infant self and question anything that doesn’t quite make sense…
Whether we are talking about running, carrots offering improved night vision, chocolate giving you acne, drinking eight glasses of water a day or the tooth fairy swooping in at night to steal your dislocated molar in exchange for cash if knowledge really is power, that knowledge is only as good as the information it was based on.
Until next time.