Running appears to be one of the most popular forms of exercise among adults these days. It's hardly surprising when it can be done literally anywhere and can be easily slotted into a busy day. With saying this, it makes me wonder whether running is as good as people seem to think it is.
It is true that running promotes fitness quickly and is an efficient calorie burner in comparison to other activities. The benefits also go deeper as endorphins are released to give you that 'feel good' factor as well as having the anti-depressive effect like many other aerobic activities.
However, there appears to be many disadvantages, which for some, may considerably outweigh any health/fitness benefits. Running is a high impact activity and therefore puts the body under a considerable amount of stress, particularly but not limited to joints (mainly knees and ankles). Over time, when running on a regular basis the stress upon joints can cause injury which will result in the termination of exercise for some time. Research has also shown a negative effect upon kidney function due to high impacts.
As I am sure many runners will admit, running has an addictive effect, and can consume an individuals mind with compulsive urges to run. It may also be used as a form of self-punishment, both of which may negatively effect the mental state contradicting the benefits originally thought.
Tips for minimising running injuries:
- Minimise time spent running on concrete, choose routes based on dirt or grass.
- Alternatively you can run on a shock absorbing treadmill or an indoor running track.
- Always wear appropriate running shoes designed to support the foot/ankle and absorb shock.
- Replace running shoes when they begin to show signs of wear.
- Females should wear a supportive bra or chest support.
To sum it up, running appears to be a great form of exercise when isolating your view to fitness benefits alone, however the high risk of injury suggests that maybe other forms of exercise should be considered.