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nikipedia's avatar

Do you run (or workout), how common is this, and if you do run can you give me some advice?

Asked by nikipedia (27531points) April 14th, 2010

I have been puzzling over this for a while now. I was not an athletic person growing up. (The opposite, really.) And it seemed like the people around me almost universally weren’t, either.

In the past few years, though, I’ve come to find that almost everyone I associate with works out regularly and most of them include running as at least part of their training (all 4 of my coworkers, most of my incoming class at school, my roommate…) It is more unusual not to work out than to work out among the people I know.

Are my friends and coworkers freakos or do most people actually get some form of regular exercise? Is it just because we’re in our 20s? Live in California? Have I inadvertently selected for runners/athletes in my social circle?

I have tried some googles without much success. So I would like some anecdotal data if you’re willing to share: do you work out? If so, how and how often? What about the people close to you? Is working out common or uncommon among people you know?

I also have a follow-up question since I expect this question to be disproportionately answered by runners: I am running my second 5K a week from Sunday. My goal for the first was simple: finish; don’t die. This time I want to actually improve on my time. Do you have any good advice on how to do that?

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23 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

For my fitness test in the navy, based on my age and such, I have to run a mile and a half in around 11 minutes. We just run long distances like 3 miles to condition ourselves for running. We do stuff like sprints and heavy calisthenics(sp) as well. I think you just have to keep running and working out to simply condition yourself. I have dropped my run time from 12 minutes to 11. I also used to ride a bike which helped also. And eat pasta before a big workout and hydrate of course.

Oh, and we do this 3–4 times a week also.

janbb's avatar

I’m close to 60 (gasp!) and I exercise between 4–6 hours a week – not in California. I don’t run because of leg and foot problems, but I walk (fast) several times a week, do water aerobics, tai chi and Zumba. I used to work out with machines but got bored with that. Oh – and also, most of my friends get some kind of exercise regularly; some bike, some run, some go to the gym…..

The_Inquisitor's avatar

Oh, well, I’m 17, and since about grade 10, most people I know DO work out. I myself included, although I do have my slack off days/weeks/months. Some people I know may not exercise so regularly, but from time to time, and some pretty regularly.

At some point, I would jog everyday, and do ab exercises and other strength exercises every other day, and when I’m more lazy, I either just jog, or do the ab workout. Sometimes I just slack off for months, or weeks or days and don’t exercise at all, but I get back into the habit of exercising again eventually.

Cruiser's avatar

A week is not a lot of time. Hit the pavement as much as you can and “visualize” yourself running the race as you know you need to run it! Get your pace set in stone and practice keeping that pace. I have seen many novice racers get killed by trying to do more than they are ready to do. If you can do anything practice keeping pace and resisting the urge to keep up with the pros! Enjoy and good luck!

chyna's avatar

I’m 52 and have worked out since my late 20’s. I run at least 4 to 6 miles a day 4 or 5 days a week. I noticed that the women I worked with mostly worked out and their ages ranged from mid 20’s to late 50’s. None of the men I worked with worked out and it showed.

hearkat's avatar

I suspect that if you consider that in addition to the demographics you noted, you add education level, socioeconomic status, and the fact that you are in neuroscience (and therefore know how critical cardiovascular health is to your entire system), that will help explain the high proportion of fitness buffs in your circle. But check back with them in 10–20 years, when they are more likely to have kids and been at the same job for a while, etc., it may well change.

MrsDufresne's avatar

I walk between four to five miles a day, for four days out of the week. I jog occasionally, but prefer walking (with ankle weights) because it is less stressful on my chest (yes even with a sports bra) and knees.

I live in California, am going to be 36 next week, and I exercise regularly because, quite simply, it makes me happy. (Literally, it actually effects the endorphins in my brain in a positive way.)

Most of my friends and family do not work out on a regular basis.

In order to improve on your time, increase the amount you run by a few minutes each time. Push yourself a little longer (within reason of course), and it will get easier, and build your stamina.

Good luck on your next 5K!

jaytkay's avatar

I am running my second 5K a week from Sunday. My goal for the first was simple: finish; don’t die. This time I want to actually improve on my time. Do you have any good advice on how to do that?

Try to keep an even pace. On your practice runs, figure out your pace and stick to it. At a race you may start among a faster group, it’s easy to go like a rabbit off the line and use up your energy too early.

Here is a site with 5k, 10K & marathon training schedules. You ran 5K, all these are attainable and not at all brutal.
http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/5k.html

Great to hear you are running a second race! Have fun!

jeanmay's avatar

Personally I go through phases of being really active and working out 5 days a week (aerobics), or of pretty much being a slug. That said I walk everyday to get the shopping or go and see friends. Most of my friends do regular exercise, but they drive everywhere.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

I’m 13 and bike about a mile (maybe a little less) every day for P.E. I’m homeschooled and that’s what I do for P.E. About 3 or 4 times a month I go for a longer ride, like 3–5 miles. I say just pace yourself and have fun. Maybe bring a friend that you can talk to comfortably (Make sure it won’t be awkward! Ack!) to make it fun.

casheroo's avatar

do you work out? I wouldn’t call it working out. I do a lot of walking, but because I have to with my son. He is full of energy and I’m forced to keep up. BUT, I do enjoy Pilates, because of the way it makes me feel and how I get toned from it. I’m not currently enrolled, but will soon.
If so, how and how often?
What about the people close to you? No one I know works out really. My one friend does, but she’s in the Reserves and does it for drill. And my other “mommy friends” attempt to lose the weight after hyaving their children, but once they do they either stop with the work outs or whatever.
Is working out common or uncommon among people you know? Only common if they want to look fit or lose weight, other than that..I only know of one friend who does marathons and triathalons(sp)..and I don’t know his exact motivation, but he enjoys it as a hobby.

You’re young, I’m actually shocked at how many people you know who actively work out. I know that sounds silly, but I guess I just notice younger people not having to work out so they don’t.

thriftymaid's avatar

I was a runner when younger. I loved it. It’s really hard on your knees. I now think walking would have been a better idea.

tranquilsea's avatar

Growing up I was non-stop in every kind of sport I could be part of. I ran as a teenager until shin splints stopped that. I took up ashtanga yoga through my 20s and early 30s and then got bored. I have recently starting running again and doing yoga on my non-run days.

I am the only one, in my immediate family, who does exercise.

silverfly's avatar

I’m 27 and I try to work out (go to the gym) 3 times a week and get some cardio in on the weekends. I never have a routine at the gym because I like to try and work as many muscle as possible as naturally as possible (using free weights, not laying on my back, etc) and I don’t really have a particular goal other than to just stay healthy.

On the weekends, I try I usually go mountain biking or running, but my shins give me problems, so I prefer to bike. Sometimes I go through slumps where I don’t work out at all and I actually think this is good for your body, but I have no evidence to back up that theory… just a hunch.

SeventhSense's avatar

I work out and run but run less when doing more strength/weight training because it’s been shown that excessive running is counterproductive to muscle building. Long distance runners become lean for a reason. Muscle mass weighs them down. But it’s important to be fit cardio wise regardless.

Arisztid's avatar

My father started teaching me to fight when I was about 8 so I headed into my late teens in good shape.

When I turned 18 I went into the martial arts, having been denied entry to the armed forces due to a cardiac ailment. Within a year or two of starting the Arts, I supplemented it with weight training, careful to work both fast and slow twitch muscles. I did relatively heavy weight but high reps alternating with heavier weight with fewer reps, trying to keep my muscles in a state of “confusion” all the time. Bulk can slow a martial artist down.

At the height of my training, I was taking (including teaching) two classes a day, 4–6 days a week, teaching 2 separate classes per week, two sessions per class weekly. I supplemented this with about 1 1/5 hour weight training, 6 days a week, lifting in a three day split. Weight training was specifically to enhance my martial arts.

Now I am Dojoless, looking for a good one, and am going to have to start over in an art that does not emphasize kicking because I was a bit, shall we say, overenthusastic in this and have damaged my knees. I am thinking of Aikido or, if I can find it, Hapkido.

I am now 47 years old I still work my hyung, shadow spar, spar with people who I know who enjoy it as much as I do, stretch, do punching, kicking, and other drills, pushups, situps, and other that does not need a gym. I cannot do fingertip pushups worth a hoot now but that is due to arthritis in my thumbs. So I am back to knuckle pushups. I can still sit in the splits both ways but have difficulty getting both feet behind my head.

The cardiac ailment is kicking more now so sometimes I have to stop what I am doing, let it settle, and go back at it. Sometimes I have to take a few days off due to it which annoys me.

Nullo's avatar

I push carts and carry stuff for my workout. Eight hours a day, five days a week, and they pay me to do it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Hey @nikipedia
So far you are only getting responses from the minority of people who actually work out.
Go outside and look around. Are you telling my all those wide loads you see at the mall are exercising daily? I don’t think so.
It’s like asking people what TV shows they watch on cable. They say one thing but if you actually check they’re watching some embarrassing crap.

Oh and to maintain my perfect BMI of 21, I run daily – to the fridge, and toilet.

DarkScribe's avatar

Most people don’t exercise, but it not unusual if you meet one who does to find that you are going to be interacting with that person’s peers – who will also work-out.

I work out daily, have done for most of my life. I started with martial arts when I was fourteen and I also surfed – two established “fitness” areas. I have my own gym, built up over time and fairly comprehensively equipped. Only my wife and I use it – unless we have a house guest.

I am a trainer in a voluntary capacity for newly diagnosed Diabetics and have yet to meet one who was involved with regular fitness work before diagnosis. Most are heavily involved now – it manages their blood glucose levels without medication. Many are feeling younger and more active than at any other time in their lives and regarded that diagnosis as fortuitous rather than calamitous.

I exercise daily – I have a routine that doesn’t vary. I have a sound system in the gym, a good one, and a large screen TV. I only watch Television or videos while exercising, so if I get absorbed in a two and a half hour movie, I exercise for two and a half hours. It is an effective system. I alternate exercises to rest muscle groups and will also ride (cycle) and run – although after some extensive bone rebuilding (motorcycle accident – I lost an argument with a truck) and cartilage loss it is more powerwalking than running nowadays. I can only sprint, can no longer run marathons – but I will be able eventually. I am getting close to full recovery.

mattbrowne's avatar

One preventive medicine expert recommend the following to me:

1) cardiovascular endurance training

at least 3 times a week at least 30 minutes each (pulse at least 160 minus age)
or daily walks of 45–60 minutes each

2) 20 minutes of muscle training three times a week at least for the abdominal and back muscles

3) stretching exercises whenever possible (this will make you feel better, prevent muscle tension and lower the risk for injuries)

I’m doing this since 2002.

sleepdoc's avatar

I work out with alternating cardiovascular and strength days. I have 2 friends that are active triathletes. They tell me that they best way to improve run times is to do what is called interval training. You can select either timed or distance intervals and if you use a treadmill most of them have these built in as a program. Their advice is to put your “run” speed as fast as you possibly can go for the time or distance you are using and then to use the quickest “jog” speed you can and still recover for the next run interval. They advised stepping up the jog speed first if you have a wide gap between them. Also they tell me that the last couple run intervals are most key for really getting the extra aerobic capacity your muscles need. Both of them run and hour or more at intervals I can’t even touch, but they said 30 minutes will get most people started off on the right foot.

nikipedia's avatar

@sleepdoc: Great advice! Thanks!

SeventhSense's avatar

@sleepdoc
Interval training is great for fat burning. I find that it’s really effective when I allow the heart rate to really slow before heading into the intense phase. Really gets the metabolism stoked. You’re dripping sweat very quickly.

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