Running has a long historic past that involves many enchanting stories such as the story of Marathon. But, underlying this ancient fable are the real and true risks that one takes; fatigue, heart failure, stiffness, knee injuries, and others are all chances you take when pursuing this sport. However, in addition, this sport helps one release endorphins and burn calories. It tones your body and strengthens the heart when trained appropriately.There are many beneficial things about running and by the end of this article if you aren’t a runner yet you very well may become one.
Running, though probably one of the least expensive sports to get into (all you need is a good pair of shoes, and even to some that is arguable) can be rather costly to your health if proper caution is not taken. The body can also be called a kinetic chain in which everything is connected. So, when doing a repetitive exercise such as running if there is misalignment in the body it will just be a matter of time before it appears as an injury or ache that can turn into an injury. This is why proper alignment of the joints, and muscles is so important before partaking in any serious activity or any activity for that matter. If the muscles or joints are too weak or too tight it creates a torque on the kinetic chain causing the body to pull in one direction or another and cause muscle or joint strain when the joint/muscle is put under stress, and for the sake of this article, running.
We’ve been talking about pain relief and a variety of different ways to alleviate it, but since I’m in the middle of planning The Second Annual River Run, you’ll have to excuse my distraction. Running is on the brain.
Running is a high intensity cardiovascular workout that burns hundreds of calories while toning the body, and strengthening the heart. Additionally running, like all exercise releases endorphins, a naturally occurring hormone that leaves one feeling elated (ever heard of runner’s high). And with a long run where you can meditate and drift off letting your mind wander, as well as feel good, it’s no wonder why people love to do it.
Benefits of Running:
Running is GREAT for your heart! When done in moderation you can use the cardio to strengthen the most important muscle of your body, while increasing endorphins which make you have a positive attitude and ultimately make you feel extremely happy.
Running is meditation. More often than not, when I speak to friends that run long distances, they explain to me that it helps them to release the stress of the day and to get sorted in their mind.
Lastly, Running helps one to develop a sense of community. There are so many organizations, clubs, races, marathons, and triathlons, that people of the same community get together, become friends, learn things about each other, and in most cases help to raise money for charities in need. Running has spring-boarded in the last ten years as a popular activity that many can be a part of.
Health Problems attributed with Running:
Joint Pain, Arthritis, and Inflammation:
Overall, Running is extremely healthy. However, with any sport, there are risks. With running, the most common risk that some might experience is inflammation that can contribute to muscle damage.
“Muscle damage and inflammation can remain for seven days after having run a marathon (Hikida,1983), while repair of muscle fibers can take three to 12 weeks” (Warhol 1985).
Now, inflammation may not lead directly to muscle damage, but it can contribute to stiffness and soreness. And additionally, one may begin to experience arthritis with the constant pressure and strain on the body’s vital joint structure. Running puts six times one’s body weight of pressure on the knee joints.
More seriously, long distance or marathon running can be major contributions to heart failure. And it is not as uncommon as one might think. However, most cases have occurred when there is are already cases of heart disease or cardiac failure in the family history.
The most serious is death, as a result of cardiac failure or stroke.
How to stay healthy:
Be sure to stretch before any vigorous activity, but most especially running long distances. If you’re not sure what kind of stretches you can do, we highly recommend researching it or buy The Anatomy of Stretching. Figure out what muscles you are using the most and figure out why they hurt. Any corrective exercise specialists, and most elite trainers will be able to tell you so. In addition to stretching, purchase a foam roller to work out sore muscles quicker and to help the body heal faster.
2. Proper Shoes:
With the constant impact on the soles of your feet from running, it’s no surprise that you will need a sturdy and good pair of shoes. You may end up paying a pretty penny, but they will most likely cost you less than the physical therapy you’ll need from a random foot injury. Consult your local shoe expert. We like Santa Cruz Running Company, they are super friendly and well informed!
3. Nutrition. Nutrition. Nutrition:
Running burns TONS OF CALORIES. As you might have noticed, plenty of runners are very thin. If you’re looking to make sure you have the most nutritious diet possible, consult a nutritionist. This will help you to rebuild muscle, strengthen your bones, and much more.
4. Listen to your body:
You will see this on any site you choose to research. If you are overweight and your joints and body ache, start with walking. This will help you lose weight and even get you closer to your goals. If you are injured, don’t push through it. Consult a =”http://www.santacruzcore.com” title=”Trainer”>Trainer as they will know what training you should proceed with and what other forms of therapy you should pursue.
5. Know your history:
If you or your family is at a risk of stroke or heart attack, consult a doctor or physician before you begin an intense workout regimen. They will help you assess where you are at and a realistic time frame of where you can be by running tests. Your life is the most important thing.
In short, running is an individual sport with strong ties to clubs and communities. They raise millions of dollars for non-profit organizations all around the world and help to keep millions of people healthy and in good shape. Like any other sport, it has its risks. But, as long as you are aware of those risks and make your best effort to take preventative action, you should be able to enjoy a long life full of that awesome running that you love!