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Beth Risdon, author of the irreverent and humorous running blog, Shut Up + Run, is a certified running coach (RRCA). Beth's passion is writing about her triathlon and marathon training, and inspiring others to participate in their first endurance event. Beth lives and trains near Boulder, Colorado. You can follow her adventures at www.shutupandrun.net.

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Shut Up and Run!

by Beth Risdon, Running Coach, Health and Fitness Blogger
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If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say that "Running isn't good for your body," I'd have a ghost writer doing this post for me and I'd be laying on some beach in Greece.

I understand why running gets such a bad rap - something to do with all the pounding and impact and injured people. Yes, there are risks associated with running, like there are risks associated with any sport. Yet, to make the blanket statement that it is "bad for you" seems a bit nave.

The thing people don't take into account with running is that it does not have to beat up your body. It can actually strengthen the tissue, the bones, and the tendons if proper rest and adaptation are allowed. Let's face it: running stresses the tissues. But, if given time to rebuild, those tissues actually become stronger. The key is moderation, rest, recovery, sensibility.

Another reason people think running is bad for you is that they are afraid. Very afraid. Running is difficult. Although I've had moments of effortless running, I am usually wondering when I can stop because it is that hard. I think some people try it, see how hard it is and react by saying, "I don't want to do that anyway, it's bad for you."

So, what's all the fuss? Let's look at some of the reasons people say running is the devil's work:

1. People die running.
People die tying their shoes on the curb in New York City. People die eating grapes and choking to death. Yes, you will hear of someone dropping dead during or at the finish line of a marathon. I'm sure you learned that famed ultra runner, Micah True, died recently while running in New Mexico. His cause of death was cardiomyopathy an enlarged heart.

Don't panic. You have to keep in mind that these deaths are almost always due to a pre-existing heart abnormality or heart disease. So, don't be stupid and ask your doctor before training for an endurance event.

In fact, did you know that overall runners live longer and stay healthier longer than couch potatoes? People who rarely exercise are fifty times more likely to die of a heart attack during vigorous exercise than those who exercise five times per week. Overall, fit men are half as likely to die of a heart attack than the classic "couch potato." So, your odds are pretty good that running will lengthen your lifespan, not cut it short.

2. Running is bad for your knees and joints.
You can see why this is a widely held belief. After all, with each step a runner's knee takes up to eight times the force of the runner's bodyweight.

running

Researchers at Stanford University wanted to know more about the actual long term effects of running on the knees and joints. 1,000 runners and non-runners were tracked over a period of 21 years. ...    Continue



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