June 8, 2004
Methodist physician urges aspiring runners to take it slow
By Lisa Uzzle Gates
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—It’s akin to the quandary about the chicken and the egg—run to lose weight or lose weight to run?
As more and more studies show Americans increasing in size, exercise becomes a key issue. Those looking for a lot of bang for their exercise buck may feel compelled to try running or jogging in the hopes of quick results. But that is more likely to bring on injury and sabotage the entire program, warns Dr. David Collipp, a rehabilitation medicine physician at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson and the physician for the hospital’s annual 5-kilometer Reunion Race.
“Jogging when you are significantly overweight is not a good way to lose weight—but it might be a good way to injure yourself,” Collipp said. “It may put too much stress on your knees, hips and ankles.”
Any fitness routine should begin with a visit to your doctor, Collipp advises. Once you’re cleared to exercise, start with a low-impact activity such as walking or bike riding.
If you go to the gym, try walking on the treadmill, using a stationary bike or an elliptical trainer. Stay away from stair climbing machines at first, because they put pressure on sensitive areas. “You want something that does not put too much pressure on your knees and hips, but helps you develop that motion and gives you a good cardiovascular workout,” Collipp said.
After a solid start—two to three months of steady exercise seven days a week, for 45 minutes to an hour—try alternating between walking and jogging, eventually building up to jogging. This workout regime should also include some weight lifting to build muscle. “You want to build the muscle around the joints. That will help stabilize the joint,” he said.
The Jackson hospital’s staff and patients are training for Reunion Race, a track club sanctioned race that raises money for the hospital’s patient care fund. The race, set for Saturday, Sept. 11, at the hospital’s East Campus in Flowood, includes a 5K run, walk and one-mile fun run. It includes runners of all levels, and several wheelchair racers who compete in events across the region and nation.
Jim Myrick, treasurer for the Mississippi Track Club, said a variety of abilities are represented at each track club event, from avid runners to people just beginning to exercise.
“We keep that clock up until the very last person comes in, and you don’t have to be embarrassed one bit. You just go at your own pace,” he said. “And I always look forward to the one mile. The kids just love it.”