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Find out which is better: running faster or longer

Referring to recent spike in incidents of how people have collapsed in gyms and workout sessions due to overdoing their exercising, Dr RR Dutta, HOD- internal medicine, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram said that exertion of any kind is not healthy, let alone speedy runs

Here’s what to keep in mind when running

For a long, running has been considered to be the ultimate physical activity that can help one achieve their fitness goals. But running also involves keeping certain things in mind — like pace, duration, suitability, and safety — to ensure optimum results. As such, what should one consider when taking up running? Rather than running at a greater pace and soon feeling out of breath, the idea should be to run for longer at a slower or moderate pace, suggests Dr Sudhir Kumar, a neurologist, adding that such running is “ideal.”

Responding to a Twitter user’s experience of reducing his pace from 7.05 to 7.45 minutes pace per kilometer and, therefore increasing the run time by 10 minutes, which resulted in his heart rate dropping to 143, Dr Kumar tweeted, “Great going; it will help you, in the long run, to be fitter and healthier. Pace thrills (but kills) — true for running as well. For maximising health-related benefits, run slower and run lesser.”

Taking a cue, we reached out to experts to understand how paying attention to the pace makes a difference to not just your goal but also your heart rate and endurance levels.

Referring to the recent spike in incidents of people collapsing while working out due to over-exercising, Dr RR Dutta, HOD- internal medicine, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram said that exertion of any kind is not healthy, let alone speedy runs.

“Pace is good and can encourage your adrenaline rush but it can come with a cost. For someone with high blood pressure, running fast can create complicated challenges,” he said.

According to Dr Dutta, routine checkups are essential to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the body. “If you are prone to fluctuations in blood pressure, its better to keep strenuous workouts at bay. Instead, choose something light like walking. There have been examples of many people who have lost kilos after just walking for an hour or two consistently every single day. Keep your pace limited and talk to your doctor or an expert about what should be the ideal method of exercising for you,” Dr Dutta

Notably, people who already run regularly “may not face” any issues with increased pace, according to Dr Subhendu Mohanty, interventional cardiologist, Sharda Hospital, Noida, provided they meet all health parameters. However, for beginners and amateurs who are not used to running, they should not run at fast pace to begin with. “It is harmful as it directly impacts your heart rate, which can require immediate medical intervention,” said Dr Mohanty.

What is the ideal pace?

Maintaining a 7-8 minute pace per kilometre is suggested, Dr Dutta said, adding that it is pertinent to consult a doctor to understand your health condition and ask them to recommend an ideal pace that does not harm your heart health.

At the same time, maintain your diet, water intake, and sleep schedule and meditate regularly so that it encourages your physical activities to have a healthy well-being.

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