Is running really that good for you?5 May, 2016
We’ve all seen them –in the park, on the street, in the gym. The runners who go round and round and round…
Indeed, many of us are them at some point or another. And that’s no bad thing – running, like most physical activity, is generally good for us.
But are the benefits of jogging ever overstated? Here are five good reasons why they just might be…
1. Even the scientists aren’t sure
While most will agree that the cardio-vascular workout provided by running does do you good in moderation, it seems you really can get too much of a good thing.
Researchers in the US have found those who tend to live longest are those who do two to three hours per week.
Any less – or any more – can leave the runner worse off.
2. You might be able to do just as much good by walking
It may sound too good to be true that a leisurely stroll could bring you just as much benefit as all that sweating – but it could just be the case.
Scientists investigating the benefits of walking versus running, for high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes risk, found that the two activities were not significantly different.
3. Too much running might actually be bad for your heart
A study in 2010 found that marathon runners tend to have more calcified plaque in their arteries than non-endurance athletes.
Now this study only compared the two extremes, so it doesn’t say anything about runners in the middle.
But that extra calcified plaque they found on the extreme runners’ group has been linked to conditions such as stroke and dementia.
4. It can be bad for your knees
Physiotherapist Andy Byrne told the NHS Choices website that “runner’s knee” is the most common condition he treats in joggers.
The issues – which can develop around the front of the knee or behind the kneecap – are treatable. But the NHS says you shouldn’t run if you have pain in your knee.
If you want to avoid this, it’s important to make sure you’re running correctly.
5. Too much jogging might be as bad as doing none at all
Another report, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, suggested jogging at a steady pace for less than that same two-and-a-half hours-per-week mark was good for your health.
But any more than that could actually be detrimental.
Researcher Jacob Louis Marott, from the Frederiksberg Hospital in Copenhagen, told the BBC: “You don’t actually have to do that much to have a good impact on your health. And perhaps you shouldn’t actually do too much.”
“No exercise recommendations across the globe mention an upper limit for safe exercise, but perhaps there is one.”
The bottom line is, running is a great way to keep active and it’s broadly very good for you. The vast majority of runners probably have nothing to worry about.
But, like anything, there could be some risks for those who take it to the max.
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