Fun runs, 5ks, half marathons, and full marathons usually spark either excitement or dread into the hearts of those who love running or those who despise it. Whether you’re a seasoned runner, or you enjoy quick 30 minute jogs on the treadmill, the warning that running can be harmful or your knees is something most everyone has heard.

A Closer Look at Running Assumptions

1. Does running cause osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis occurs when your bones becomes brittle and frail, due to loss of tissue. While  some have argued that running increases the risk of developing osteoporosis further down the  line, it is not entirely true.  Many other outside factors like genetics, weight, diet & previous  injuries may all have an effect, and play into whether or not a runner will develop the disease.1

2. Is running unhealthy for pregnant women?

Not necessarily and here’s why: running “can help ease delivery and encourage the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the developing fetus.”2 Most women can walk, jog, and run up until the third trimester; some can even run through it.3 However, since everyone’s body type is different, always consult your doctor before engaging in a new fitness routine, especially if you are pregnant.

3. Does running cause joint inflammation?

According to a study done by co-author Matt Seeley, an associate professor of exercise at  Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah, he and fellow BYU colleagues, as well as Dr. Eric   Robinson of Intermountain Healthcare, measured the typical knee joint fluid found in selected  healthy men and women aged 18-35, both before running and after. They found that two  markers they were looking for,  two cytokines named GM-CSF and IL-15, actually decreased  in the subjects after 30 minutes of running.4 This study indicates that for young and healthy  individuals, running may help create an anti-inflammatory environment that may benefit joint health long-term. Of course, everyone’s body handles things differently. If you feel like running is  causing inflammation in your knees, speak with your physician.

Fun Fact!

Did you know? You don’t necessarily have to carb load before a race. Sorry to break the news to pasta lovers out there, but carb-loading really only helps if you’re running a half marathon or longer.5 This is because carbs are stored as glycogen in our muscles and liver, where they act as energy. Running a 5k or 10k will not cause your body to need the extra glycogen. For most of us, our bodies already have enough carbs stored up to get us through the smaller races.

!! Tips for Runners

  • Concrete can be hard on the knees, try running on asphalt or a rubberized running track. Softer surfaces can help absorb a bit of the impact.6 An indoor treadmill may help too.
  • If you want to decrease your chances of hurting yourself from running, add strength training to your routine to help build up your muscles.7
  • Don’t push your body too hard too soon. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to build up strength and endurance before increasing your speed or distance to prevent injuries that may be avoided.

Sources:

  1. Karp, Ph.D. Jason R. “Running Is Bad for Your Knees and Other Top Running Myths.” ACTIVE.com. N.p., 05 Feb. 2016. Web. 15 June 2017.
  2. Ibid
  3. Ibid
  4. Hollingshead, Todd. “Study: Running Actually Lowers Inflammation in Knee Joints.” Brigham Young University. N.p., 09 May 2017. Web. 15 June 2017.
  5. Karp, Ph.D. Jason R. “Running Is Bad for Your Knees and Other Top Running Myths.” ACTIVE.com. N.p., 05 Feb. 2016. Web. 15 June 2017.
  6. Strong, Debbie. “What 6 Joint Docs Say About Running.” EverydayHealth.com. Everyday Health, 28 May 2015. Web. 15 June 2017.
  7. Keprotica. “Strength Training For Runners: How To Do It Right.” Bodybuilding.com. N.p., 05 Apr. 2016. Web. 15 June 2017.

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

 


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