How sprinting could make you live longer
Ok, so maybe you are counting your 10,000
steps a day on your fit bit tracker. We are all becoming aware of how people
don’t walk enough these days. We have lifts, escalators, vehicles, services to
do things we normally would have to do ourselves, hell we even have moving
walkways at airports to get us from point A to point B.
So we are tracking our walking to make sure we hit our numbers, but when was the last time you saw someone sprinting? And I don’t mean a jog to the bus stop, I mean an all out, full force, all energy intense movements at the highest speed you can perform safely.That’s sprinting.
For many, performing this at a top speed for 10-15 seconds is an unrealistic expectation. Many of us just aren’t capable of doing this because of our physical state (maybe we aren’t walking enough ;) )
Sprinting is a stressor on our body, but it is an acute stressor. When we sprint, we can have a chat with our friend next to us, we can’t pull up the latest snap chat filter to test out we also can’t pull up that report you were meant to finish yesterday. When we sprint, that’s all we can do. It requires all of your attention – your musculoskeletal, nervous and cardiovascular systems are all turned on and on high alert.
Because it is an acute stressor, sprinting can be extremely taxing as you're doing it, but that feeling doesn't last. You won't feel completely demolished after a sprint session. Sure, you'll feel sore in places you probably weren't aware that even existed, but you won't be crippled in any manner. Your legs might pull up a bit tired and sore the following day but your heart rate will go back to the norm, and you might even feel more energised.
Why we love sprinting over long distance running:
- Sprints improve insulin sensitivity and also circulatory function
- Sprinting helps you improve in other areas other than just sprints. Sprints increase oxidative (fat burning) potential of muscle and increase your endurance capacity. It can also help improve the efficiency of your muscles during exercise where you can preserve more glycogen and rely on more fat (1).
- Sprints are your best bang for your buck, It's quick, there's not a big recovery process from it, and it gets the job done(2).
Let’s talk about the body in comparison with sprinters vs. marathoners
When you add speed and power to any movement, the body changes. Look at a marathon runner vs. a sprinting athlete. Athletic build and well-developed muscles are typically what you will see in a sprinter.
Less work, more muscle right?
Let’s take a closer look at this. Think about the food we eat. I’m sure we can all agree that not all calories are created equal right? 1000 calories of lollies compared to 1000 calories of fruits, vegetable, meats, nuts and seeds are very different on how the body uses them to unlock pathways and promote health with muscle gain, fat loss etc. or to cause detrimental consequences like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Why is it that we can all agree on energy intake but not our caloric output in the same fashion? If we have an optimal way for energy intake for optimal health, wouldn’t we have an optimal way for energy output for optimal health?
The answer is yes. With muscle growth, fat loss and overall optimal health being something that most of us are after (if not all of us); sprinting is your key to unlock all of this (3). Burning 1000 calories with a job will be very different to burning those 1000 calories with sprinting.
Jogging doesn’t use the body the way it was designed for. Our bodies weren’t designed with large glutes (your booty) to simply jog to see how long we could last. Our quads aren’t big to be used by muscle depleting eccentrics from a boring pace of jogging.
To get a better marathon time, you need to log the treacherous miles, lower your body weight (this includes muscle) and be ready for a lot of pain, injuries and probably a lot of therapeutic services to heal a muscle-depleted body.
To get a better time in a 100m sprint, you need to stronger, build muscle, lose fat and use workouts to work on explosive and technical movements.
Which sounds better to you? I may be a bit biased, but I also think the above clearly states which are more beneficial for optimal health. This doesn't mean that marathon runners aren't something very special. It takes a lot of dedication and commitment to be able to complete this, and we tip our hats off to those who choose this pathway. We just believe that sprints can be much more beneficial in the long run for our health (and also physique).
(1) Sprint interval running increases insulin sensitivity in young healthy subjects.
(2) Short-term sprint interval versus traditional endurance training: similar initial adaptations in human skeletal muscle and exercise performance.
(3) High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss