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How much should I run and how fast if I just want heart health, mind health weight maintenance? (Read 239 times)

    I'm a 19 yr old guy and I've been running since I was about 14. I run all the time but don't really bother with recording my runs anymore. Unlike a lot of people, my goals aren't to be the fastest or the strongest, I basically just want to run to keep my heart strong, stay lean, etc, well into my old age. So I'm wondering what target mileage and pace I should aim for that would accomplish these goals. Some "science" (cough) articles out there say that over 20 mpw negative affects longevity, some people say over 30. I feel like 30 mpw and max 7:30 pace  are nice round numbers. Thoughts?


    King Rake

      Run whatever pace feels good for as long as it feels good. Nothing can predict a number that's best for the mental and physical health of an individual.

      TripleBock


        If you do not care about Miles per week - Just run 45 -60 minutes 4-7 times a week, getting you heart rate to 65-75% of maximum heart rate.  If you feel like running harder a couple of time a week do it.  If you feel like running further once per week do it.

         

        When I was your age max hear rate was 210,  so 65% = 137 and 75% = 158 ... so 140-160 range.

         

        Or just go by feel.

        I am fuller bodied than Dopplebock

          Run whatever pace feels good for as long as it feels good. Nothing can predict a number that's best for the mental and physical health of an individual.

           

          This is probably the best answer you will get.

          Runners run.


          Sultan of slug

            You get the vast majority of exercise-related benefits - in terms of positive physiological, metabolic, and psychological adaptations - in the first 20 minutes of exercise.

             

            Clearly you'll get even more benefits by exercising more, and obviously you aren't going to burn a ton of calories in 20 minutes, but for pure "general health," a little bit of exercise goes a long way.

             

            The New York Times does a fantastic job of covering health and exercise science, and they've reported on a number of studies to this effect over the past several years. Here's an interview with one of their main health/exercise writers (who happens to be a runner) about a book she wrote on exactly this topic: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/04/the-surprising-shortcut-to-better-health/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

             

            It's definitely worth exploring their past coverage and keeping up with it going forward.


            The Irreverent Reverand

              I'm a 19 yr old guy and I've been running since I was about 14. I run all the time but don't really bother with recording my runs anymore. Unlike a lot of people, my goals aren't to be the fastest or the strongest, I basically just want to run to keep my heart strong, stay lean, etc, well into my old age. So I'm wondering what target mileage and pace I should aim for that would accomplish these goals. Some "science" (cough) articles out there say that over 20 mpw negative affects longevity, some people say over 30. I feel like 30 mpw and max 7:30 pace  are nice round numbers. Thoughts?

               

              Can't help you with the numbers, but let me commend you for wanting to develop a life-long habit of running for the good of your health. I ran in middle school and high school, and then stopped for 17 years. Stopping running was one of the worst decisions I ever made, but whatever .... I was young and stupid.

               

              Kudos to you for being young and making a good decision for your health.

               

              Signed,

              39 year-old former fast guy getting back into it

              Husband. Father of three. Lutheran pastor. National Guardsman. Runner. Political junkie. Baseball fan.

               

              Goals for 2014:

              Sub-3:30 marathon; run for a year free from major injuries or interruptions

              PRs: 3:27 marathon; 1:41 half; 45:07 10K; 23:26 5K; 6:02 mile; <12 parsecs Kessel Run

                That was my question when I started running...

                 

                The answer: as much as you can and as fast as you manage to become.

                 

                The problem  is with mantaining weight... first you shed your excess kilos, and hten yopu start getting better, and you want to mantain that... but hey! there's this race coming and if I can shed a kilo or two (by then you already look like the parody of a stick figure, mind you)... and that's how it goes.

                 

                WORSE: You eat like a pig, like a whole farm of them as if you got a blackl whole in your guts (sorry, I need to stop writing for a moment, got to stuff my face again), so where was I again? ah yes, you eat an awesome lot, nothing is safe from you, the fridge cowers i fear every time you get into the kitchen...  And you know that if you stop running you will enter in a phase of hyperinflation just like our universe a few seconds after the Big Bang or Eddy Murphy in the Mad Professor... so taht you don't stop running...

                 

                And well, that's the sad story of a man who became a runner, a victim of society forced to spend his life blogging about shoes and porta-potties and cursed to wear extremely tight flashy underwear, externally(!).

                 

                  Huh. Well, maybe I will just do the following.

                   

                  Run.

                   

                  In the event that more explanation is needed - I'll run more if I feel like it. Less if I feel like it. Faster if I feel like it. Slower if I feel like it.

                   

                  As far as the longevity stuff, I'm pretty sure that running and keeping my heart strong isn't going to magically make me drop dead any sooner. As if not running and living a life on the couch would prevent that!

                   

                  As tempting as the idea of setting a "miles per week" or mileage in stone is, in the end, it probably doesn't pan out too well. I like the idea of always switching up my game based on what I feel, it adds a sort of spontaneity to it.

                   

                  Thanks to all for the input. I like running, I just don't like to make it complicated.

                     

                    Can't help you with the numbers, but let me commend you for wanting to develop a life-long habit of running for the good of your health. I ran in middle school and high school, and then stopped for 17 years. Stopping running was one of the worst decisions I ever made, but whatever .... I was young and stupid.

                     

                    Kudos to you for being young and making a good decision for your health.

                     

                    Signed,

                    39 year-old former fast guy getting back into it

                     

                    Double post - I sort of know what you mean here. I stopped running for one summer, and even in that period of time I felt really crappy and just had way less energy. I also noticed my mental health was poorer, like I was getting more depressed and my general outlook was bad.

                     

                    Not to belabor the point, but I think I like the abstract approach to running; that is, follow the body and just vary/increase/decrease volume and pace based on how i feel. it probably isn't worth making it any more difficult than that.

                    ShuffleFaster


                      Dave:

                       

                      I also commend you for thinking about this stuff in your youth--I think a lot of us wish we had done the same.

                       

                      Running by feel is fine, but there are at least 4 other things I would respectfully suggest you may want to pay attention to if your desire is to be "heart strong" into your old age.

                       

                      1.  Diet (While your metabolism will help you keep off the pounds at your age, we are seeing heart attacks even in people who are in their 30's these days.)

                      2.  Bad Habits (If you pick up smoking, that health risk is going to overwhelm the good running can accomplish)

                      3.  Sitting (There are some interesting studies out now that people who spend a significant portion of their day sitting actually have significant health risks independent of exercise.  Minimizing prolonged sitting at work and certainly at home may help.)

                      4.  Health maintenance  (Get a doctor, please see them regularly as appropriate)

                       

                      Keep in mind that although one can do everything to promote health, ultimately, it's likely that genetics eventually triumph over all.

                       

                      As far as how much running you need to do, to be fair, there are other viewpoints to consider.   Although his name is generally mud around here,  Dr. James O'Keefe has published quite a bit of work on this subject:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6U728AZnV0

                       

                      I don't necessarily agree with all of his conclusions  (I'm a marathoner and I'm not quitting any time soon), and I think he tends towards the sensational.   However, I also do not dismiss his work (and the work of others) out of hand and I think these date are at least worth considering.  Eventually, as more studies are done, I think we'll have a more definitive answer to the question of how much is too much and where the sweet spot is for optimal health.

                        Dave:

                         

                        I also commend you for thinking about this stuff in your youth--I think a lot of us wish we had done the same.

                         

                        Running by feel is fine, but there are at least 4 other things I would respectfully suggest you may want to pay attention to if your desire is to be "heart strong" into your old age.

                         

                        1.  Diet (While your metabolism will help you keep off the pounds at your age, we are seeing heart attacks even in people who are in their 30's these days.)

                        2.  Bad Habits (If you pick up smoking, that health risk is going to overwhelm the good running can accomplish)

                        3.  Sitting (There are some interesting studies out now that people who spend a significant portion of their day sitting actually have significant health risks independent of exercise.  Minimizing prolonged sitting at work and certainly at home may help.)

                        4.  Health maintenance  (Get a doctor, please see them regularly as appropriate)

                         

                        Keep in mind that although one can do everything to promote health, ultimately, it's likely that genetics eventually triumph over all.

                         

                        As far as how much running you need to do, to be fair, there are other viewpoints to consider.   Although his name is generally mud around here,  Dr. James O'Keefe has published quite a bit of work on this subject:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6U728AZnV0

                         

                        I don't necessarily agree with all of his conclusions  (I'm a marathoner and I'm not quitting any time soon), and I think he tends towards the sensational.   However, I also do not dismiss his work (and the work of others) out of hand and I think these date are at least worth considering.  Eventually, as more studies are done, I think we'll have a more definitive answer to the question of how much is too much and where the sweet spot is for optimal health.

                         

                        Hi - thanks for your insights! I'll address these in turn. Diet - I'm a lacto-vegetarian at present (for reasons of general kindness, as well as health) and I really avoid processed food when I can. I've thought about going vegan but might not make that jump completely until I'm just a tad older, say around 23-25. I'm just about growing in terms of frame size, though, so I've at least slowed down animal product consumption. I think it makes sense to do that once your main growth phase has stopped. I've also noticed that too much protein consumption makes your system more sluggish, and while people say a protein deficiency will make you more prone to injury, I think that has far more to do with training habits and flexibility. I do yoga which also helps with injury-proofing I think.

                         

                        Habits - don't smoke, don't drink. Sitting - I made a standing desk for my computer and use it a lot, sometimes I use a chair but not all the time. Doctor - I do need to see one more regularly, that's for sure.

                         

                        The video you linked seems to suggest that anything beyond around 35 mpw is where the health benefit tapers off. That seems like a reasonable mileage to me. I'm thinking about pace too, as well. Could I be just as heart-healthy running 8:00 miles as 7:30 miles?

                        ShuffleFaster


                          .The video you linked seems to suggest that anything beyond around 35 mpw is where the health benefit tapers off. That seems like a reasonable mileage to me. I'm thinking about pace too, as well. Could I be just as heart-healthy running 8:00 miles as 7:30 miles?

                           

                          O'Keefe would say that 7:30 is where the benefits of running start to fade away, so 8:00 miles for general health is plenty fast.  Also, the numbers I've heard from him lately go for about 20 to 25 mpw.  I'll refer you to this article:  http://running.competitor.com/2012/06/news/how-much-running-is-bad-for-your-heart_54331   If you are interested in the actual academic studies, I can try to hunt them down for you once I finish this monograph I'm working on.

                           

                          Note that those numbers are likely too low (especially mileage per week) to race marathons with, but we're talking apples and oranges here.

                           

                          To get the maximal heart benefits from running, O'Keefe and others argue that their data show that moderate exercise confers benefits and you start to lose those mortality benefits with faster/longer running.  It sort of makes sense that there is going to be a upside down U-shaped curve in terms of health benefits vs. mileage/pace.   The real question is exactly at what mileage/pace the benefits start and where they end.

                           

                          You sound like you're doing all the right things to be healthy--again, congrats on being so wise.  Good luck to you!

                            The other day I did a Life Expectancy Calculation online. It is funny that I would get 1 year extra life if I entered exercise 4 time a week instead of 0. I don't believe it.

                             

                            I think the key is the consistency, keep running without injury until I die (I hope I can keep it). I think there is probably not much benefit in term of health if I run 10 years then stop and become overweight or obese. Also my mental health is as equally important as physical. The other point registered into me recently is that endurance is only one type of the fitness. Flexibility, strength and balance are important too. I just finished my 30 pull-up challenge in 4 months. :-)

                            5k - 20:56 (09/12), 7k - 28:40 (11/12), 10k trial - 43:08  (03/13), 42:05 (05/13), FM - 3:09:28 (05/13), HM - 1:28:20 (05/14), Failed 10K trial - avg 6:10/mi for 4mi (29/08/14)

                              The other day I did a Life Expectancy Calculation online. It is funny that I would get 1 year extra life if I entered exercise 4 time a week instead of 0. I don't believe it.

                               

                               

                              Yeah, I don't believe it either; seems to me that exercising four times per week should equate to MUCH more than just an additional year.  That said, there is also the quality of life perspective; even if it really is only an extra year, odds are that the years you have will have a higher quality of health and overall wellness.

                               

                              I think the key is the consistency, keep running without injury until I die (I hope I can keep it). I think there is probably not much benefit in term of health if I run 10 years then stop and become overweight or obese. Also my mental health is as equally important as physical. The other point registered into me recently is that endurance is only one type of the fitness. Flexibility, strength and balance are important too. I just finished my 30 pull-up challenge in 4 months. :-)

                               

                              While I totally agree that the key is consistency, there is also a thing known as the "real world."  I was a runner in high school, I ran a little less in college, and a little less still when I was in the Marines.  By the time I was 30 my career was looking good and my body, well, not so much.  I managed to get back in shape and do a number of triathlons in my early 30s, and then a wife and kids happened just as my career progressed to the next level.  Guess what?  I got fat again.

                               

                              As the kids got older and more independent, I started working out again, and by the time I was in my mid-40s, I was smoking a 10 mile trail run in under 80 minutes three to four times per week; yeah, not too shabby.  Then I broke my leg and partially tore off my foot; I got fat again, and if my surgeon had had his way, that's the way I would have stayed (his exact quote was, "You'll walk again; with a limp.  You'll never run again."

                               

                              When I was in my early 50s, after many unsuccessful attempts to start running again, I finally found a new dirt trail (the old one had since been paved over), and it proved to be soft enough to allow me to run without getting injured.  I managed a whopping 8 miles that first month, and an even more impressive 18 miles the second.  I'm now in my late 50s and logging 200+ miles per month, and trying to get back down to a decent racing weight.

                               

                              So, with all of the above said, given the inconsistencies in my life vis-à-vis exercise, I still believe my off again, on again exercise pattern has added numerous extra years to my life, and quality ones at that.  Smile


                              Sultan of slug

                                 Habits - don't smoke, don't drink. 

                                 

                                Hey, problem #1. Moderate drinking, somehow, is apparently really good for you. Do it for the children.

                                 

                                Also, coffee: Something else that's long been considered a vice but is actually strongly correlated with a list of positive health outcomes too long to enumerate here.

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