Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 12 July 2020

Yes, you can run a 10k in your living room, but should you?

Fitness experts weigh in on running long distances in one room

As we face periods of self-isolation at home, more and more people are running in their living rooms if they don't have outdoor space. Getty Images
As we face periods of self-isolation at home, more and more people are running in their living rooms if they don't have outdoor space. Getty Images

If you're a social media user, you will have seen friends around the world take part in a challenge to run 5 kilometres, donate 5 pounds, dollars or euros, and then nominate five friends to do the same.

Many have even upped their running distances to 7k or 10k.

It's a great initiative, but if you've been tagged in one of these challenges here in the UAE, running outside is not currently permitted. So, if you don't have a garden or ample outside space, should you take the challenge on from the comfort of your home?

"I would only recommend doing a 5k or 10k at home providing you have no pre-existing medical conditions, the correct footwear, adhere to the safety tips, have a solid foundation of fitness and you have sought professional advice," says Daniel Andrews, owner of Instabody Gym at Five, Jumeirah Village Circle.

"I would also not recommend doing this more than once or on a regular basis."

Daniel Andrews owns Instabody Gym in Jumeirah Village Circle. 
Daniel Andrews owns Instabody Gym in Jumeirah Village Circle.

Andrews advises that people trying to run a long distance in such a confined space "take it slow and steady" and ensure they "have the correct footwear".

"Consider the floor you are running on and ask yourself, will this become slippery over time, as that could be a risk. Also check the temperature of the room to make sure it’s cool enough for the time period."

Running on a hard surface isn’t an issue, with the correct footwear, as it’s the equivalent of road running

Daniel Andrews, Instabody Gym

He adds that "a full warm up and cool down is absolutely essential", and to make sure you are fit enough to endure 5k or 10k. "Ideally, there should be someone else around in your household in case there are any accidents or injuries."

The frequency of turns is an issue

A concern that many have is the impact of hard floors and frequent turns on joints. "With the correct footwear, running on a hard surface isn’t an issue as it’s the equivalent of road running," advises Andrews.

"The frequency of turns remains an issue, if you think of turns [in terms of] number of reps, you wouldn’t normally conduct an exercise session with this number of reps as it could cause a repetitive strain injury."

If you're new to running, the general advice is not to start now with long distance living room runs, but there are plenty of other things you can do to stay fit at home.

"If running up and down your stair case makes you happy and keeps you motivated then please continue to do it. Fitness is so personal and we are all so individual," advises owner of InnerFight Crossfit gym, Marcus Smith.

Dubai athlete Marcus Smith (centre) has challenged himself to running feats, including 30 marathons in 30 days and 24 hours of running. Courtesy Marcus Smith 
Dubai athlete Marcus Smith (centre) has challenged himself to running feats, including 30 marathons in 30 days and 24 hours of running. Courtesy Marcus Smith

"If it motivates you to compete with others then do it, but I always advise people to spend some time figuring out what really motivates them and makes them happy, so they do more of it."

Smith is best described as an "extreme athlete", in the past he has run 30 marathons in 30 days, and in November he ran for 24 hours straight around a track in Dubai, clocking up 206km.

He stresses that, while pushing yourself is important it shouldn't come at the detriment to your health.

"Many people have gone from '0 to 100' really quickly with their training which is awesome, but if not managed well it can come at a cost," he tells The National.

"If you weren’t a super-active person before then I advise adding load gradually and recovering well so that you stay healthy, without causing harm to your body.

"It’s also important to seek professional help to ensure you are doing activities in a safe way. There is a lot of general content available online, but that is designed for the masses, just be very careful with taking advice from YouTube videos and instead speak to a professional if you have concerns."

Updated: April 20, 2020 06:25 PM

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