If you were to ask how I describe myself, one thing I would say is that I am a runner! I run for my health. I run to think. I run to de-stress. The latter is where my state of running usually resides. The days that I have my best runs are on the days I have the most stress consuming my mind. While I run my mind travels. I start by debriefing my day, thinking of what I need to accomplish, to what I want for dinner, to wow that’s a big hill, to what am I going to do over the weekend, and back to what I am going to have for dinner. It’s tranquil. It’s personal. It’s a way to enjoy the weather and the city I live in. Most importantly, it’s a way to decompress.
Just like any sport, running has its fair share of injuries. Injuries can range from hurting your foot, arch, ankle, knee, hips, etc. I, for example, have broken my foot, been diagnosed with “runners knee”, and fractured my femur (largest and strongest bone in your body) all within the last 3 years. With all these “mishaps” it is not uncommon for people to tell me that I need to pick another sport, like biking, and forgo running. Even though I do bike, running is who I am. It’s what I identify with. It’s still my sport, my zen, my comfort.
The stigma with running is that by running long distances an individual will be diagnosed with arthritis in their knees. However, this is far from the truth. The funny thing is that what make you run actually is what prevents arthritis in the knees. For instance, the repeated force that moves through a HEALTHY knee actually helps the knee by keeping it mobile. To hone in on this a little more, a study that was published in July found that of the 75,000 runners they analyzed, there were no increased risk of osteoarthritis but rather, an overall decreased risk of developing arthritis.
If you were to argue that running is high impact compared to walking, you would be correct. However, if you stated that due to the differences in impact one should only walk, you would be wrong. In another study that looked at 14 HEALTHY mid-aged participants, they found that yes, running produced pounding, which was about eight times their body weight versus three times their weight from walking. However, by running the strike to the ground was less often due the strides being longer. Therefore, they covered more area with fewer steps which means individuals experienced pounding for a shorter period of time. As a result, the amount of force moving through the participant’s knee was equivalent for running and walking.
Even though these articles show that I don’t have to worry about getting arthritis in my knees is does not mean that my knees are safe from any other injuries. If you are not HEALTHY and don’t run with proper form, you can get something called “runners knee” or patellofemoral pain syndrome. Therefore, only you are the best judge to your health and what you should and should not do. Do NOT run through pain. If you have never ran before, start slow and know that it wont kill you. Rather, running its a great way to de-stress your life while providing you cardio vascular health!