Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Walking Shape" versus "Running Shape"

I've always ran to get into shape. I've never been much of a walker. Running's far more efficient, after all. So in active periods, I run (and otherwise drive), and during lazy periods, I drive. I'm a true child of suburbia!

Recent medical problems forced me to temporarily lay off the running, but I was encouraged to walk as much as possible. So I've done 4-5 miles most days, mostly up and down hills. This is very new for me. I've been a sporadic hiker, but it's never been a daily routine.

After a few months, I've noticed something very surprising. Being in "walking shape" isn't, after all, just a cheaper version of "running shape". It's a whole other thing. I live up a hill, and am long accustomed to being a tad winded from the final stretch, even at times when I've been doing lots of running. But lately, when my body begins that climb, a voice inside says "Oh, good!", and I find myself accelerating up the hill, eating the climb like it's absolutely nothing. As if I was driving my car. Even at my physical peak, I've never experienced this.

(the downside is that, even with an incredibly careful diet, I've only lost a few pounds. No running means no weight loss, so I'm starting running again this week).


TomMeg said...

If running gets iffy, you might consider walking with a weighted vest as a way to increase the intensity and caloric burn of your walks. Just be sure to start with very little added weight and increase very gradually to give your joints time to adapt.

Jim Leff said...

Thanks for the tip. My health is perfect...I can do anything, so running won't be iffy.

I'm thinking about continuing with the walking in parallel, however, and may try the weight trick.

Muscle_Burst said...

Good job noticing the difference between running and walking. I don't think many people notice this type of stuff.

I've been following the advice of Don Bennett,DAS book, Avoiding degenerative disease.

In summary he says walking is natural and you receive lots of benefits from walking. On the other hand running is a and might make you less healthy.

I've also read elsewhere running causes you to gain weight because it stresses your body and mind.

Bennett states"
The Best Activity

Climbing works out every muscle in your body; it's impossible not to be fit if you climb regularly. " p.118

Jim Leff said...


FWIW, I agree about the stress of running. But it can be addressed. Like a lot of people recently, I've trained myself to nose breath while running. This sharply curtails the stress. I've seen this accounted for in various ways....this site, which I haven't examined very carefully, seems to approach the issue from a number different angles, though some of it strikes me as pseudo-science:

I first read the tip in a book by a physiatrist who'd trained with yogis in India, wish I could remember the title/author (it's pretty well-known). He also suggests adding a bit of resistance to the exhale...enough to make a Darth Vader-type wooshing sound. Oh, and also breathe quite deeply (I'm a trombonist, so that part comes naturally).

I do this during all exercise, and I seem almost eerily relaxed even when lifting heavy weights or running above my "comfort" zone.

I not only don't gain weight from running, but I can't lose weight without it. The downside of my relaxedness (I meditate a lot) is a very low metabolism. I need to work hard to get my heart rate going and start the fires burning. That, combined with the increase in resting metabolism brought on by increased muscle mass (from weight training), is my only hope.

Blog Archive