Is running bad for my body?
Unfortunately, there have been many negative thoughts and beliefs about running and its effects on the human body. For example, you may have heard that “running is bad for your knees” or “regular running leads to hip arthritis.”
Contrary to popular belief, this is not true.
Recently, a study looked at rates of arthritis in runners compared to sedentary populations. It determined that runners experienced less arthritis, less pain and reported a better quality of life. Interestingly, the rates of arthritis amongst runners was almost half the rate of their sedentary counterparts, with only 9% of runners experiencing symptomatic arthritis and 18% in the sedentary population. Other studies have shown that runners preserve their joint space and cartilage in the hips and knees but also have healthy intervertebral discs in their lower backs compared to inactive populations.
This evidence suggests that the body is adaptable and resilient when physical loads are placed on the body, assuming that the load (i.e. running) is built up gradually and sensibly over time. Other forms of regular physical activity can also keep us just as healthy from the inside out.
Beyond the muscles and bones, running is also an excellent source of nutrition for the cardiovascular system, digestive system and brain. Regular running increases your fitness, which prevents chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and elevated cholesterol levels, all of which are risk factors for developing arthritis.
If you’re looking for an easy, convenient way to get active and invest in your physical and mental health, try running! For long-term success, ensure you build up your running program slowly and progressively.
If you’re finding running to be painful, touch base with a physiotherapist. We'll get you sorted out in no time.
By Nathan Hers, Physiotherapist