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Running - GOOD For Your Joints?

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Old 08-19-2007, 12:41 PM   #1
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Default Running - GOOD For Your Joints?

I've heard time and time again - running is bad for your joints. But lately I've been hearing something totally opposite, that running can actually improve joint health...So which is it? Supporters of the first school of thought argue that all the pounding eventually wears away at your joints, supporters of the second school of thought argue that running strengthens the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support your joints and stimulates the synovial fluid that lubricates.

So which is it? Which doctors and "scientific evidence" (that everyone inevitably seems to have to back up their argument) do I believe?
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Old 08-19-2007, 01:33 PM   #2
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I've heard both too. My DH told me when I started C25K that he would support me if I wanted to do it, but that running would ruin my knees. I looked online and found articles supporting that running strengthens joints and bones. Maybe it's a case by case basis? I don't know...I look forward to other's insight.
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Old 08-19-2007, 02:09 PM   #3
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I think it partly depends how far/often you run. I'm no scientist, and haven't read the studies (although I've heard both theories at various times), but would imagine that running short distances would have a different effect to running ultra marathons. Also there may be a difference in terms of the strengthening muscles part between people who only run, and those who do it in conjunction with other activities such as strength training.
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Old 08-19-2007, 02:23 PM   #4
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Anecdotal information only--because of bad knees I was told I shouldn't run, but once I lost weight, chose to do it anyway because walking just wasn't enjoyable for me anymore. Although I do wear a knee brace on one knee, I haven't had much problem with my knees. However, I work diligently on strengthening the muscles around my knees, which I believe is the key for me. I also choose to run short distances. Well, frankly, my body gives me some great signals that long distances aren't for me so I stick to what works best given what my body says.
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Old 08-19-2007, 05:54 PM   #5
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I would suppose it also depends on the type of surface you run on, your running form, your shoes, and your physical state when you begin.

I've recently wanted to start running, so I booked a session with a running coach, and he took me through some tests and made recommendations on exercises that I should do for the next few weeks to get me 'ready to start running'.

I think humans are meant to run. Maybe not marathons everyday, but I don't think that 5 and even 10'k runs are beyond what our skeletons can handle.
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Old 08-20-2007, 03:21 AM   #6
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Shock horror alert!

Any form of impact - running, boxing etc - is good for bone health!!!

Why? Cos in causing micro damage to the bone's structure you stimulate growth and repair - thus increasing your bone mineral density = thicker and heavier bones.

So walking/running can help stave off osteo in your legs, hips and spine. Boxercise will do the same for your upper body and arms!

But you do have to balance your workouts, as overuse will cause injuries that a) prevent you form exercising and b) can increase your risk of osteo!

So moderation is key!

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Old 08-20-2007, 09:12 AM   #7
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Studies seem to show that running itself appears to be good for your knees, at least statistically speaking. However, injury is not, and running can cause injury, particularly of the overuse variety. I'm guessing this is the reason for the discrepancy between the published studies and popular wisdom. If you are getting injured or running in pain, stop and find out why. A lot of biomechanical issues can be corrected with the right shoes, prescription orthotics (which I wear), or specific exercises so your knees will be happy for years to come. Crosstraining may also help if there are issues.

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