On my trip to Canada I reread a book I’ve read before called ‘Born To Run’. The book was written in 2009 and as the title suggests, gives the reader lots and lots of reasons, theories and proven facts on why we were born to run and the part it played in our evolution as human beings.
I know you’re probably going to expect me to agree with the findings and back the words of every field specialist who had input into the research and findings because I do the odd Triathlon here and there. However this isn’t the case, I don’t think running in this day and age is all that, unless your goal is of course running specific. But I do 1000% believe it is important to do ‘something’.
I’m late on in the book the second time around and mid chapter I had to stop reading to think, after reading a ‘Big Pennydrop Moment’. The point made in the book is that, our body is an amazing thing, that is entirely capable of achieving amazing things. Whether it’s beating the next guy and claiming gold at the olympics, or shunning your baby weight and reclaiming your identity, you’ve been blessed with the body to do it. Unfortunately, the brain part has skipped many cycles and it is ever the conservationist. It wants to do everything on the cheap, and use as little energy as possible. It is theorised that 20% of a daily calorie intake is set aside to feed the brain, as it is the ‘super computer’ controlling all of your actions whether you’re aware of them or not. This unfortunately has developed into humans being more lazy than ever, because there’s a middle man in place for pretty much anything you want to do that will save you time and calories. It is well understood that your brain will take the line of least resistance in every scenario it comes up against. Before, people did lots more load bearing things both in and out of work which is a lot healthier than non-load bearing stuff. Jobs were more manual, games like ‘tig’ or ‘cuppies’ were energetic load bearing games as opposed to the modern day computer game generation. The example in the book is that, if conditions on earth are so harsh with the effects of gravity, surely life in space must be so much easier and more beneficial. Humans would be so much stronger in space because the forces on the body are so much less. With that in mind a test was done, and it actually proved that the case is otherwise. Subjects had aged a decade in a matter of days because there was nothing for your body to be strong against, all of the earthly forces were nonexistent in space and therefore the body had weakened significantly, from muscle density, to bone density and in some cases even the ability to make clear decisions. Their hormones hadn’t regulated properly and their entire endocrine system was in decline. It is for this reason that Tim Peake had to be wheel chaired away from his landing site on his return to Earth after 6 months on the space station. We more recently saw a demonstration of this where Ross Edgely swam the entire coastline of Great Britain without coming back to land. As a result, when he got back to Margate beach he could barely stand, let alone walk despite kicking his legs some considerable distance! As the gravitational forces weren’t there or were significantly reduced, there was no real reason, if any at all for the human body to be strong against such forces.
Up until now I realise you may think this is all waffle but the point I am getting round to is that walking and running are both classic examples of a load bearing exercise, which makes the body strong and resilient to forces stronger than itself. It is precisely for this reason that load bearing resistance training is a non impact ‘safer’ alternative. Resistance training develops balance, muscle development, bone density, reduces the risks of infection and disease, small and serious just like running does! Everything that modern training has going for it, there are modern day conveniences that want to take it all away whether it’s tech you’ve bought into or poor quality food you live off. Your desk or driving seat where you work to earn money to do the things you enjoy is slowly taking away your health, whether you like it or not. If you’re desk bound for 8 hours a day, and sleep for 8 hours a night that leaves 8 hours in between where I can bet you’ll either be commuting sat down, ‘chilling out’ sat down or socialising sat down. The book is purely about running, but the fundamentals remain the same. Create a stimulus for the body to respond to, and it’ll become stronger, don’t bother and your whole body will, not bother! Most serious illnesses weren’t about or heard of 30 odd years ago, but with industrialisation and automation fast taking over, us human beings have little to do, and little to answer to. Just 1 hour of training 2 to 3 times per week can significantly boost your health, the way you operate, the way you think and how energised you feel which I think is a small price to pay out of your 8 hours a day free time! I’m not saying you need to go back to washing your clothes with rocks in the river bed and chasing your food by any means, but a little bit of mindfulness will go along way, a little bit of motivation will push you further. As ever, most people look at things as a ‘bottom line, how much money is it going to cost me?’ As opposed to ‘how much is it going to cost me if I don’t?’