By Jaye Sadler, Progressive Physical Therapy –
In recent history there has been a surge in the popularity of running throughout the US and Internationally. In 2010 there were 503,000 adults who ran in and finished a marathon. That number represents an increase of 6-10 % in the past 3 years with the average age of the marathoner being 38.8 years old. Why then have many in the health fields routinely hailed running as “bad” for you, and “damaging” to your weight bearing joints? I challenge this opinion, and instead say “running isn’t bad for you, BAD running is bad for you”, let me explain…
The Spaulding National Center for Running has researched injuries in runners and identified several key risk factors:
1) Running inexperience: How one prepares for and begins a running program is crucial. Having guidance from an experienced runner or running group, or specialized health care professional who is trained in running biomechanics is an effective way to alleviate the likelihood of running causing you injury.
2) Weekly Mileage: Running greater than 50 miles per week and/or rapidly increasing mileage can increase the chance of injury. Establishing a proper training program that allows for 12 weeks of gradual increase is optimal.
3) Previous injury: Although this is considered to increase risk of injury, research suggests that it is likely because the proper time and/or treatment for injury were not allowed which can lead to re-injury or further issues. Again a proper evaluation by a running professional can eliminate this risk factor.
4) Extrinsic Factors: This includes running form and footwear and is a common mistake which can hinder your training progress and lead to injury.
Other research by the center also shows that running itself is not a primary cause of increased Osteoarthritis, in fact the frequency of OA(osteoarthritis) in runners vs non-runners in 40 y/o subjects showed no statistically significant change in the cartilage thickness in the hips, knees and ankles, all the lower limb weight bearing joints-surprised?
Running is not for everyone , and you should consult a healthcare professional before starting a training program, however it can be a very convenient exercise activity which improves cardiovascular health, improves flexibility, and can assist in improving respiratory efficiency as well as allow you to enjoy the beauty of nature and relieve stress. All you need is a pair of shorts, a tshirt, some water and proper footwear and guidance to allow you to meet your running goals.
Please feel free to consult the professionals at progressive physical therapy and health club as we can assist you in evaluating your readiness to begin a running program, finding the proper footwear or treating any injuries that may be impeding your progress. If running is not for you we can also assist you in finding the right exercise activities for you to have a healthy and happy new year.
Jaye Sadler, Physical Therapist
Jaye was born in southern New Hampshire and has resided in the state of Florida since 1996. She has been a therapist for over 20 years and is married with two beautiful daughters.
Jaye graduated from the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine in 1989, and has been practicing in a variety of settings in New England and Florida since that time. Jaye has completed specialized training in manual therapy and has had experience working in pediatrics, neurology and orthopedic settings. Jaye has been with Progressive Physical Therapy since August of 2008 and enjoys the dynamic setting and challenging caseload.
When not working, Jaye and her family enjoy traveling, camping, and riding horses.
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