Running. You either love it or you hate it. But if you're like me, then you are somewhere in the middle. Running is the only exercise for me that can produce a solid red face in a matter of minutes. It's hard to go for long distances and I usually give up after ten minutes. Running is known to be a great source of exercise, but it's really not all that. The only real benefit to running is that it's good for your heart. So if you're running for any other reason, then stop!

If I had a dime every time I heard someone say they are going running to get in shape, then I'd have lots of dimes. I'd even have to give myself a few. But the truth is, it takes a really long time to lose weight and get the beach bod by running--usually so long that most everyone gives up and moves on to something else. So if you are simply trying to lose weight, go ahead and move on now. There are many other exercises that will be better tailored to your weight-loss desires.

My brother is an avid runner, running for hours every day. He tells me that he wants to stay in shape into adulthood, but running simply won't make that happen. Running is very damaging to the joints in the knees, feet, and ankles. Every step you make in your run is forcing your body to absorb the shock of your entire weight, plus some for the added force. If running is the sole source of your exercise, then don't expect to be able to do it forever.

The fact of the matter is, running doesn't burn very many calories. Walking a mile and running a mile burn about the same amount calories; the only difference is the time spent doing it. And for anyone who is not a trained runner, we just don't have the ability to run enough and for long enough to get the calories off in a timely fashion. Even my brother admitted that it took at least two months for leisurely jogging to become easy, and thus enjoyable. It takes weeks to months to be able to even run long enough to burn a significant amount of calories, and even after you get to that point, it will take more months to start seeing weight changes. And even if we did, there would still be negative health effects.

I'm not saying don't run at all, especially if you love doing it. All I'm saying is to be cautious and aware of how much you are running, and maybe considering cutting back a little. There are plenty of other ways to get a great workout without hurting your body. The elliptical is my personal favorite. Make sure to switch it up and interval with other things. And if you don't like running at all anyway, don't feel to pressured to start.