Is running bad for your knees? Not according to the results of two recently completed studies.
The first study was performed at Baylor University and included 2,863 people. It found that runners reported a lower incidence of knee pain and osteoarthritis than non-runners. Not only that, but age was not a factor - even older runners suffered less from knee arthritis!
The other U.S. study was from 2013 and involved more than 74,000. The runners reported a lower rate of knee arthritis and a lower risk of needing knee replacement surgery.
But what about the "common knowledge" that "running is hard on the joints, especially the knees?" And what about all the people who stop running as they get older because "it's too hard on my knees?"
As it turns out, it's likely not the running by itself that causes the knee problems. Of course, if someone has a pre-existing condition, then this data may not apply and running is probably not their most effective avenue of fitness.
So why is it that, in spite of what's been drilled into our heads over the years, that runners have fewer knee problems than the general population?
It turns out that one of the greatest factors contributing to knee problems is body weight. And, guess what? In general, runners weigh less than their non-running counterparts!
In an interview on December 6, 2014, in Australia's Canberra Times, Rob Newton, a professor of exercise and sports medicine at Edith Cowan University, stated "A knee's worst enemy isn't going for a run - it's the couch and the TV remote."
So if you're a runner, and you're worried about long term damage from running to your knees, this information should make you worry a bit less.
Of course, you should be sensible and moderate in your training - ultra-marathons are not for everyone. And if you're not running or really performing any type of exercise - you can stop using the "hard on the knees" excuse.
The health benefits of running far outweigh the risks!
There's no time like the present to get started on a regular fitness program. You don't have to wait for New Year's - a "right now resolution" works just fine.
If you need help getting started, start with a medical clearance from your physician. Then, call the foot professionals at Sol Foot & Ankle Centers and Foot Traffik.
We'll make sure your feet and legs are ready and you have the proper footwear. We can even provide you with a training program and coaching to get you going. Let's make 2015 the year we get in shape!