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AboutBeth 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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If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say that ďRunning isnít good for your body,Ē Iíd have a ghost writer doing this post for me and Iíd 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 ďbad for youĒ seems a bit naÔve.
The thing people donít 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. Letís 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 Iíve 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, ďI donít want to do that anyway, itís bad for you.Ē
So, whatís all the fuss? Letís look at some of the reasons people say running is the devilís 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. Iím sure you learned that famed ultra runner, Micah True, died recently while running in New Mexico. His cause of death was cardiomyopathy Ė an enlarged heart.
Donít panic. You have to keep in mind that these deaths are almost always due to a pre-existing heart abnormality or heart disease. So, donít 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 ďcouch potato.Ē 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 runnerís knee takes up to eight times the force of the runnerís bodyweight.
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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