Are people born better at sport?

Born to run

Jogging in the city

Gring abe u seckle on August 5, 1997, Anita Weyermann (40) fought her way to bronze in the 1500 meter championship in Athens. Then she delivers the saying for eternity mentioned at the beginning. The Bernese was an exceptional talent. Blessed with fast legs, optimal basic endurance, the ability to suffer and a brutal will. Not everyone can do this, but almost everyone can become a runner. Running still means a lot to Anita Weyermann. So she not only runs after her four small children, but also regularly through the forest and offers private coaching and running courses. Anita Weyermann explains that you should go jogging two to three times a week so that it brings something and has a training effect. The problem for many beginners: They want too much too quickly. The goal for novice runners must be to trot easily for half an hour at a time. Ideally, the training begins with an interval of four minutes of fast walking and one minute of easy trotting, says sports doctor and author Matteo Rossetto (59) from the Basel Sports Clinic. Anyone who has overcome this first hurdle will quickly experience the blessings of running: Trolling off very loosely, feeling the warmth of the spring sun on your skin and at some point increasing the pace without really noticing it, simply because it feels good. Be happy. In order to shine with every fiber of the body when the run is over, even if you are really exhausted, or precisely because of it. In addition to the feelings of happiness that can increase to a runners high when running, the body also benefits from regular exercise. Because running is healthy and keeps you fit. One hour of jogging increases life expectancy by 7 hours. The reasons are numerous: the heart becomes more powerful, the lung volume increases and stress hormones such as adrenaline are reduced. And for many the most important thing: jogging burns more calories than any other sport. But what does that mean for the joints? Ex-professional runner Anita Weyermann defends herself against a prejudice that they suffer from regular running. On the contrary! Those who jog a lot strengthen their bones.


Better bone density in runners


A study by the Camilo José Cela University in Madrid supports this statement. The scientists examined the heel bone of 122 marathon runners and 81 half-marathon and ten-kilometer runners. They then compared the values ​​with those of people of the same age who lived a more sedentary lifestyle. It was found that the endurance runners had a higher bone stiffness index than the non-runners. You could also see that the bone density got better the more the runners trained and the longer their running distance was.


Endurance robber man


We are all born runners, the race is the super power that made us human, writes the biologist and ultra-long distance runner Bernd Heinrich (78) in his bestseller Why we run. The German-American professor's thesis: For millennia, humans had been an endurance predator who literally chased their prey to death in the heat of noon. Under special conditions, humans are actually superior to all other runners. In the animal kingdom, the antelope is considered to be the best long-distance runner. But her slim body lacks energy reserves; it is exhausted after 30 kilometers at the latest. For trained people, on the other hand, even 100 kilometers or even more are possible.

Even our ancestors ran in the Paleolithic. This is shown by cave paintings. It is more likely, however, that they did this less for pleasure or for the sake of the figure than to get their food. It was not until ancient times, at the Olympic Games, that the first runs took place from a sporting point of view. The real boom then began in the late 1980s. This reached its peak at the beginning of the 21st century. The numerous positive effects on health contribute to the fact that this has not died down to this day. In a representative survey by the Federal Office for Sport, 23.3 percent of those questioned said they regularly lace up their running shoes. For 8.7 percent of the study participants, it is even the main sport. The rule is: I run, therefore I am. While some try to run away from the stress of everyday life, the more ambitious train for an upcoming fun run or just want to shed a few extra pounds.

You should go to your pain limits at least once a week. "

Anita Weyermann

Efficient interval training

There is good news from the Bernese woman for everyone who wants to work off excess flab but doesn't have the time to jog for hours around the area. The often made claim that fat burning while running does not start for half an hour is wrong. Fat burning starts in the first minute. The decisive factor is the energy balance and every meter and every minute counts for them. But: The total energy expenditure per unit of time is significantly lower at low intensity than at higher exertion. Interval training has proven to be very efficient here. The runner alternates between periods of intense running and slow trotting or leisurely walking. Weyermann adds: With this so-called high-intensity training, i.e. training with high intensity, the body still burns calories even after sporting activity.

There is also a professional tip from the ex-professional for racing enthusiasts who train for a competition and want to improve their personal best. At least once a week you have to go to your pain limits - it has to hurt. Or just: Gring abe u seckle.


Beats per minute - Increase performance with music


English researchers found that runners who train with music experience an increase in performance of up to 15 percent if the tempo of the music is adapted to the running tempo. However, it is crucial that the beats per minute (BPM) match the step frequency. For an average runner, this is around 160 steps per minute.

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Matteo Rossetto is a sports doctor at the Basel Sports Clinic and author of Einfach Laufen.

Dr. med. Matteo Rossetto is a specialist in general internal medicine specializing in sports medicine SGSM, manual medicine SAMM and ultrasound diagnostics of the musculoskeletal system SGUM. He is a passionate sports doctor and, together with Dr. med. Anton Sebesta founded the Basel Sports Clinic in the Hirslanden Klinik Birshof. Dr. Rossetto has been looking after various individual athletes and sports clubs from a wide variety of disciplines for many years. As the author of well over 100 articles in the magazine Fit for Life and the textbook Einfach Laufen, he is known to a broader endurance sports public.

Why is running / jogging healthy?
Walking, trotting and running are basically the most natural modes of locomotion for humans. Physique and development history make people ideal long-term walkers and runners: in the days of hunters and gatherers, people walked over 20 km every day. When running, a large part of the muscles is stressed in a natural and harmonious way, while at the same time efficient training for breathing, heart and circulation takes place. The health effects not only affect the musculoskeletal system, respiration, heart and circulation, but also numerous metabolic functions such as sugar utilization, fat breakdown, reduction of blood lipids, control of body weight and many more. Physically active people are significantly less affected by the increasing diseases of civilization and are less likely to develop cancer. In addition, regular running also has beneficial psychological effects (improved mood, positive body feeling).

Is this sporting activity suitable for everyone?
There are few physical conditions for which running activities are not indicated. These include severe osteoarthritis of the supporting joints of the legs and debilitating diseases. In principle, regular walking or easy trotting 2 to 3 times a week for a duration of 30 to 60 minutes is recommended for every person. Even older age or the presence of metabolic, cardiovascular and circulatory diseases are no reason not to move around continuously.

What do beginners have to pay attention to?
Most of the time, beginners want too much too quickly. The result is discomfort in muscles, tendons and joints, which destroy good intentions again. The goal for a beginner must be to be able to trot or jog slowly for half an hour at a time. Ideally, the half-hour training should begin with an interval of 4 minutes of fast walking and 1 minute of easy trotting. If the course runs smoothly, the walking distance can be increased by half a minute to a full minute per week in favor of the running distance. At the beginning, 2-3 training units with a 1-2 day break in between are completely sufficient. The running training should be accompanied by a few gymnastics and stretching exercises.

How important are good running shoes?
Nobody wants to run with bad or unsuitable running shoes. Today's running shoe is a high-tech product with the problem that because of sheer innovation (every sports shoe manufacturer is known to have the best running shoe) and an almost unmanageable range, the risk of a mistake increases. My recommendation: Without pre-existing problems of the leg and ankle joints, choose a neutral shoe or a shoe that slightly supports the inner arch of the foot, in which the foot feels comfortable and which you like. In the event of complaints or problems with a running shoe, it is advisable to conduct a running analysis with an orthopedist or sports doctor with the appropriate running shoe advice or insole supply.

Is it healthy to walk barefoot?
Basically yes, only nobody is used to walking barefoot these days. Today we are practically born with shoes and then only very rarely take them off. The soles of our feet are correspondingly sensitive to local pressure or uneven ground. Walking barefoot in your own garden or lawn is good, but I do not recommend running barefoot. And the new barefoot running shoe products are also not recommended for beginners with poor foot muscles.

Running style: forefoot, middle or hind foot? Advantages and disadvantages?
This has become an almost philosophical question that is answered very controversially. A novice runner should start with her own, accustomed running style that she is given. With the running speed and the terrain, the body changes the footrest automatically (the faster and steeper uphill, the more forefoot, downhill almost always with heel contact). The more used a body is to a running load, the more the running technique plays a role and the more often it can be playfully experimented with. But nobody should be forced to change their usual running style without complaints or a valid reason.

What is a stitch? What can you do about it?
It is hard to believe: Despite the immense medical progress, the cause of the stabbing pain under the (right, more often than the left) costal arch that sometimes occurs while running is still unexplained. Theories offered are tensile pain on the straps of the internal organs (liver, stomach, spleen), circulatory disorders or cramping of the diaphragm. There should be a connection with fluid or food intake, inadequate breathing technique, inadequate muscular trunk control or improper stress on the spine. All speculation. If a stitch occurs in the side, slow down the running pace or take a break from walking, breathe in and out deeply and regularly and press against the painful abdominal wall with the fist while breathing until the stitch disappears.

Should you take a break or continue training if you have sore muscles?
Muscle soreness corresponds to microscopic muscle damage in a muscle group that is not used to the exercise performed. Any longer or more intense run after a long break will be answered with aching legs, which is not a problem. If the pain is only slight, further, easy running training can be completed without hesitation; if the pain is stronger, a break of several days is advisable in combination with alternating baths, heat applications or circulation-promoting (loose) massages and careful (not hasty) stretching exercises.

What is Runners High?
As runners high we describe the euphoric feeling of wellbeing that arises after longer, repetitive physical movement patterns, most often during endurance runs. It is a trance-like state in which the runners are mentally and physically in a flowing, almost effortless and weightless state. The body's own, drug-like messenger substances, so-called endocannabinoids, are responsible for the development of this pleasant feeling of happiness, which synchronize the body and mind as a result of the rhythmic, monotonous continuous movement in this state of well-being. Once you have experienced this feeling, you will want to experience it again and again during the endurance run.

It always means that you can only burn fat really well on long, slow runs. However, a study by the Université Laval in Québec shows that the faster you run, the more fat your body burns. What's right now?
In this context, the terms fat metabolism (the percentage of fat burning in total energy expenditure) and fat loss (often with the intention of reducing excess weight) are confused. Every working muscle draws its energy from the oxygen-bound (so-called aerobic) combustion of free fatty acids and the possible utilization of sugars, both with and without oxygen (so-called anaerobic). The muscle gets the necessary energy depending on the intensity of the load from a mixture of aerobic (with the breathed oxygen) combustion of fats and sugar and the anaerobic (without oxygen consumption) combustion of sugar substances. The more endurance trained a body is, the higher the proportion of aerobic fat burning in the overall energy metabolism. The better a muscle is endurance trained, the higher the percentage of fat burning, even at higher intensities, which is no longer a contradiction in terms: the sugar that is not unlimited is saved for later or faster loads.

The more energy a physical training requires in total, the more calories (from fats and sugars) are consumed. If the calorie consumption through training exceeds the calorie intake from food (so-called negative balance), the body breaks down (fat) reserves. Therefore, more intensive training with a high calorie consumption is more effective for fat loss than an easy endurance run, in which relatively more fats are burned, but fewer calories are consumed in absolute terms. Actually logical