We all know that exercise is good for us. We have been told this fact since our mother's first realized we could talk, and it is very true.
Exercise will not only improve our physical health but our mental health as well, with some of these effects being immediate and others being far in the future.
The problem with exercise is that it is often about moderation. Doing too little will have very few improvements on your life, and doing too much may result in an injury or a lack of muscle building progress.
This is further complicated by the individual themselves. People have different levels of fitness and are more prone to injury in some areas.
Some people can run for miles, but as soon as they try the rowing machine, they have pulled a muscle in their back.
For those just starting out on a fitness journey, this can be irritating, as suddenly all the really basic activities seem daunting.
Take running for example, the most basic of all the workouts and the one we are probably most familiar with.
For those looking to build muscle and have a stellar physique, running is a form of great cardio and something to be viewed with wariness, as too much can set back your muscle building gains.
So, how much running is too much for muscle and physique building?
Benefits Of Running
Running is an aerobic exercise that offer many benefits. It is both functional and aesthetic, which makes it popular among athletes and non-athletes alike.
The main benefit of this exercise is its positive effect on cardiovascular function, especially if you know how to breathe when running. When you get into shape through exercising, your heart rate climbs significantly higher than when you don’t run at all.
Your body uses oxygen and gets rid of lactic acid from your muscles during running. This process causes your blood pressure to rise and the heart rate to increase.
As a result, you feel like you need to breathe heavier and faster.
Running also has other beneficial effects, such as improving lung capacity and reducing cholesterol. Runners who experience weight loss tend to lose fat mass instead of lean muscle tissue.
They end up losing less fat because the body doesn't store fat while running.
In addition, being physically active stimulates metabolism, increases bone density and improves insulin sensitivity, which all help reduces the risk of developing diabetes later in life.
Another benefit is that running improves muscular strength and endurance. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that runners had 50% greater leg strength compared to sedentary men.
Another study found that runners were able to lift 25 pounds more than non-runners after 12 weeks of training.
While there are many benefits to running, if you are new to the sport, you should start slow. You should focus on getting yourself accustomed to running without overexerting yourself.
Once you are comfortable with the activity, you can begin increasing your speed and distance.
Running And Muscle Building
Unfortunately, running can cause a lot of problems for those trying to build muscle.
If you want to lose fat first and then work towards gaining muscle, running is not recommended. However, if your goal is to gain muscle, running is a good way to go.
There are several reasons why running is ideal for building muscle. Firstly, running requires minimal equipment, which means you won't need to spend money on expensive gym memberships.
Secondly, running allows you to burn calories throughout the day, making it easier to stay within your calorie intake. How many calories does running burn is a question that has been asked countless times.
Studies show that we burn around 100 calories per mile that we run. However, there is no exact formula to this as there are several factors, such as age, height, weight and gender, that can affect the numbers.
Thirdly, running helps maintain healthy bones, ligaments and joints. Finally, running provides a low impact workout that isn't hard on your knees and ankles.
However, there are certain risks associated with running. One of the biggest concerns is injury, especially if you haven't been working out regularly before.
Overuse injuries are common among long term runners, so make sure you stretch properly and warm up before beginning any kind of exercise routine.
Other potential issues include dehydration, cramping and fatigue.
Dehydration occurs when you sweat excessively or drink insufficient amounts of water. Cramps occur when your muscles become fatigued and contract involuntarily.
Fatigue may lead to overtraining. All three conditions may negatively affect your performance, your progress and even your health.
The bottom line is that if you are serious about building muscle and having an athletic body, running is a vital part of your program. You can also mix in some cardio and weightlifting for runners to get even better results.
However, keep in mind that you have to take care of your body by following proper stretching techniques and ensuring you get enough rest between workouts.
How Much Running Is Too Much For Muscle Building?
If you want to build muscle but aren’t sure how much running is too much, you might be wondering what type of running would be most effective.
Running at different speeds will provide various benefits. For example, interval training involves alternating periods of running (or walking) at high intensity with short, slower recovery intervals.
This type of workout usually takes place outdoors, though indoor track sessions are just as effective.
When doing interval training, try to run faster during the higher intensity intervals and slower during the recovery intervals. This keeps your body guessing.
The harder you push your body, the better results you'll see, although this is definitely something you have to experiment with.
However, the harder you push your body, the more likely problems will arise when you try to build muscle or strength.
Running more than 20 to 30 miles per week is considered excessive and will hinder your muscle growth progress.
In fact, this is almost a tipping point for the human body, as if you keep up this kind of intensive running you may start increasing your blood pressure and begin to experience cardiovascular concerns as well as lose all the benefits you first gained.
As such, it is recommended to keep it lower than that. Doing a couple of miles every couple of days is good for those just looking to stay in shape and, if you want a higher intensity workout, go for a run each morning or evening, just make sure you are staying with that 20 miles per week limit.
Moderation is the name of the game when it comes to running. It is one of the healthiest ways to stay fit, but doing too much of it can be your downfall.
As such, we recommend only doing the running in moderation and only up to 20 miles per week.