Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Let’s bust myth#1: “Running is bad for my knees”

When I started running a year ago, I assumed that because running requires pounding on the ground, it would certainly damage my knees. I was little overweight with a high Body Mass Index. Although I did not discontinue my running, I felt the pressure and could not enjoy the experience of running.

“Running is bad for my knees" is the most common myth especially if you are over 40. I did some research, read couple of books and also got the opportunity to interact with a few elite runners, only to find out that this myth is just that. A myth! 

Yesterday, I was conversing with one of my childhood friends from Patna, who happens to be little overweight, but enthusiastic about running. His biggest concern was “running isn't healthy or will destroy my knees”. Among Indian non-runners who are over 40, this is definitely the biggest fear that discourages them from lacing up their shoes and going outside for run. Just remember, running is one of the best activities for your health and there aren't any studies that show joint damage directly  related to running.  Also, you don’t need to have a certain body type to run; anybody at any age, in any shape and size can be a runner. If you don’t believe me than come out to a race and watch all the people who are running, you will get your answer.

 I finished reading the book “Born to Run” a few months ago and it completely changed my internal thought process about running. I found that it just takes patience and time to adapt. Let the body acclimatize to the circumstances which it will and then you will enjoy the experience. “Born to Run” is a very well written inspirational book which has now become my favorite for obvious reasons. I am not an expert by any stretch of imagination, but can say with confidence that there is no research that shows a greater instance of joint issues or osteoarthritis in people who run versus those who do not.  On the contrary, studies show that running can be beneficial for your joints as it strengthens the muscles, enhances oxygen intake and increases bone density. My only advice would be to pay attention to things like body mass, training, food intake, behavior, age, any previous injury and take a holistic approach to distance running in order to prevent any running-related injuries.

Enough said. “Running is NOT bad for my knees”.

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