If you’re thinking of taking up running or you’re an established runner concerned about the effects on your body, read on…..
There are plenty of people out there, health professionals included, ready to sway you away from ‘pounding the pavements’ but the vast majority of these opinions are unjustified.
It’s often thought that years of long distance running causes havoc with your joints later in life.
After all, according to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis is the world’s most common joint disease which occurs when the cartilage on the ends of the bones diminishes over time, causing your bones to rub against each other.
So does running increase the risk of osteoarthritis?
It appears not.
A study published in July 2013 by ‘Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise’ found runners actually had a lower incidence of both osteoarthritis and hip replacements than habitual walkers of the same demographics.
Research suggests that the joints harden and adapt to the forces placed upon them over time so long as the running program is gradual.
Findings in general lend support to the theory that osteoarthritis is caused mainly by genes and risk factors like obesity (obese men and women are at least four times as likely to become arthritic as their thinner peers), rather than daily exercise or wear and tear of joints.
People who are overweight by as much as 20lbs or more or have pre-existing conditions, it is suggested, should take a cautious approach to running.
But don’t rule it out.
Start slowly with walking, gradually introducing short running intervals and you’ll be running 5k in no time.