Truth: Is Running Bad for You?

Truth: Is Running Bad for You?

According to a survey conducted by Running USA, in 2019, 50.7 million people participated in running or jogging in the United States alone. This represents approximately 15% of the population. Global Wellness Institute also conducted a survey and found that running is the most popular form of exercise in the world, with an estimated 234 million people regularly participating in the activity.

Running is a popular form of exercise that provides a wide range of benefits for both physical and mental health, including:

  • Improved cardiovascular health – Running is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health by strengthening your heart and lungs. Regular running can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
  • Weight management – Running is a high-intensity activity that burns a lot of calories. It is an effective way to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Increased bone density and muscle mass – Running is a weight-bearing exercise that can help increase bone density and build muscle mass. This can help prevent osteoporosis and improve overall strength and fitness.
  • Stronger immune system – Running can help strengthen your immune system by increasing blood flow and boosting the production of white blood cells.
  • Lowered stress and anxiety – Running can be a great way to relieve stress and reduce anxiety. It releases endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters that can improve your overall sense of well-being.
  • Improved cognitive function – Regular running has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory, particularly in older adults.
  • Better sleep quality – Running can help improve the quality of your sleep by reducing stress and anxiety and promoting relaxation.
  • Longevity – Studies have shown that regular running can help increase lifespan and reduce the risk of premature death.

Dangers of Running

While running can be a highly beneficial form of exercise for many people, it is not without risks and drawbacks. Here are some of the ways in which running can be bad for you:

  • Injury: Running is a high-impact activity that can put stress on your joints and muscles. This can lead to injuries such as sprains, strains, and stress fractures, particularly if you are new to running or overtrain.
  • Overuse injuries: Running involves a lot of repetitive motions, which can increase the risk of overuse injuries such as runner’s knee, Achilles tendonitis, and shin splints.
  • Dehydration: Running can cause you to sweat heavily and lose fluids and electrolytes, which can lead to dehydration if you don’t drink enough water.
  • Sunburn: Running outdoors exposes you to the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can cause sunburn and increase your risk of skin cancer.
  • Respiratory issues: Running outdoors in areas with high levels of pollution or allergens can exacerbate respiratory issues such as asthma.
  • Mental burnout: Running can be mentally taxing, particularly if you are training for a race or pushing yourself to meet certain goals. This can lead to burnout and decreased motivation over time.

The Benefits Outweigh the Risks

Despite the potential risks of running, the benefits of this form of exercise often outweigh the risks for many people. While running does carry some possible risks, these can often be minimized with proper preparation and training.

There are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of injury and other negative outcomes:

  • Start slowly – If you are new to running or haven’t exercised in a while, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase your intensity and distance over time. This will help you build up your fitness and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Wear appropriate gear – Wearing proper running shoes that fit well can help reduce the risk of foot, ankle, and knee injuries. Clothing that is comfortable and breathable can also help prevent overheating and skin irritation.
  • Warm up and cool down – Before you start running, it’s important to warm up by stretching and doing some light exercises to get your muscles ready. After you finish running, take some time to cool down and stretch to help prevent muscle soreness and injury.
  • Stay hydrated – Drinking enough water before, during, and after your run can help prevent dehydration, which can lead to cramps, dizziness, and other negative outcomes.
  • Vary your routine – Running on different surfaces, such as grass, trails, and pavement, can help reduce the risk of repetitive motion injuries. Varying your speed and distance can also help prevent boredom and overuse injuries.
  • Listen to your body – If you experience pain, discomfort, or other negative symptoms while running, it’s important to listen to your body and take a break as needed. Pushing through pain can lead to more serious injuries and setbacks.
  • Incorporate strength training and cross-training – Strength training and other forms of cross-training, such as swimming or cycling, can help improve your overall fitness and reduce the risk of injury. Get a gym membership at Bally Total Fitness so you can have lots of cross training options.

Running isn’t bad for you per se. But there are risks involved. By following these tips and taking other steps to stay safe and healthy, you can reduce the risk of injury and other negative outcomes while running. Remember to always listen to your body and seek medical attention if you experience persistent pain or other symptoms.

Watch this video demo on what happens to your body when you run half an hour a day:

Category: Featured