Let me get this out of the way: treadmill running is better than sitting on the couch reading blogs that outline the reasons running outside is better than running on a treadmill. If it’s your only option – or even just the way you prefer to exercise — have at it. You have my blessing. The best exercise is the one you’ll do, remember. But there are limitations, risks, and biomechanical changes that occur when treadmill running. It’s not the same as running outside, and there’s evidence to suggest it might be worse in some respects.
So let’s explore the potential problems associated with treadmill running:
As promised, today’s edition of Dear Mark is all about the 21-Day Challenge. Last week, you asked me a ton of questions. Today, I’m trying to answer as many of them as I can.
We’ve got questions about posture, weight loss, dairy, probiotics, alcohol, and much more. Hopefully, you find today’s post useful.
I’ll answer some more next week, so stay tuned for that. Now let’s get to it!
We civilized folk have it pretty good. Our water is clean, drinkable, and usually free of infectious microbes. The streets are paved, flat, and dotted with signs indicating our location and lamps to illuminate our way at night. All the food we could ever need or desire is a car ride, a bus ticket, or a phone call away. We have machines that safely store this food for months and even years, wash and dry our dirty clothes, shoot out hot water to wash our bodies, and maintain whichever ambient temperature we choose.
And those are just the basics – food, shelter, and water. When it comes to leisure time, to entertainment, we have it really good. Our televisions, tablets, laptops, and phones stream tens of thousands of high-definition movies and TV shows. The collective output of the world’s musicians, past and present, is also available for instant streaming or downloading, and we can fit thousands of books on an e-reader that fits in your back pocket. If you’d rather not pay for any of this stuff, libraries let us borrow the books, movies, TV shows, and music for free.
Regular physical activity is important, and everyone pretty much agrees, but life gets in the way. Most of us end up trying to fit exercise in around a busy schedule rich in sedentary behaviors. We’re sitting all the time. We’re spending countless hours at jobs we may not necessarily love. Responsibilities pile up and time slips away before we notice it was even there. We need to make our exercise count. We need to get it right. So today, I’m going to lay out the ten most important rules for successful exercise. These are the rules I use to form my exercise philosophy. These ten items have helped me get fitter, healthier, and happier than I ever was as a professional athlete, and I think they’ll help you out, too.
You might not need to follow all ten rules. And not all rules apply to all training regimens. That’s fine. But in my experience, both personally and as a coach, the people who get the most out of their workouts adhere to most of these rules.
The guy who kayaks and sets up camp along the same river each year. The woman who gets through the first year after her husband’s death one nightly hot bath at a time. The girl who brings her thoughts to the ocean each evening before sunset. The boy who throws rocks in the lake every day. The older couple who fall asleep to the sound of the waves. When was the last time you spent a period of time next to (or in) water? Maybe it was a week, or maybe it was ten minutes. Chances are, no matter how little time it was, it changed you somehow. It shifted your mood. It relaxed your thoughts. It softened the edges of your day, and you left at least somewhat revived.
Most people like being surrounded by nature. Even if it’s just a walk through a suburban city park or puttering about in a backyard garden, we’re drawn to green spaces filled with grass, trees, and leafy vegetation. They make us feel better. But the way we describe the effects of green space is all very amorphous and abstract and general, isn’t it? We “feel good” sitting on the grass. “It’s nice” to take a walk along a forest path. The office “doesn’t feel right” without a potted plant on the desk. Those sorts of benefits are great on a subjective level for the people experiencing them, but they aren’t very persuasive to others. If you want your ambivalent spouse to help grow the big garden you’ve always wanted, or your skeptical friends to start going on hikes with you, more specific and measurable reasons might be just the ticket.
So let’s dig deeper. Let’s explore the specific ways in which green spaces improve our lives: