Intended for healthcare professionals

This Sporting Life

Why running is not for people

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 18 December 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1476
  1. Peter Arnold, general practitioner (
  1. 1202/170 Ocean Street, Edgecliff, Sydney 2027, Australia

    Ahhh! The exhilaration of a fast run—the feeling of flying and the rush of wind in the face and hair! Many would say that there's nothing to beat it. Certainly not a sedate walk!

    But cast your mind back a few thousand years. Go back to the aeons when man was a hunter-gatherer. Slow of foot, but agile of mind, how did he catch the speedy antelope and other game which provided him with his protein? Not by chasing, but by stealth. That stealth required careful, slow, steady pacing, downwind of the animal, without rustling dry leaves or cracking twigs underfoot. One foot before the other, carefully avoiding uneven earth or stones, until our “Stone Age stalker”1 was …

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