Is Running Good For You?

It seems that running, the most fundamental exercise, is also one of the most controversial. Should you run? Isn’t it bad for your knees?

I have known many people that say they can’t run because of their knee problems. But I don’t know of any that developed significant knee problems because of their running.

When I ask them how they hurt their knees, I have heard of almost everything you can think of including water ski jumping, snow ski wrecks, parachuting, car wrecks, motorcycle wrecks, football injuries, and even a bull riding fall. But I have never heard of anyone injuring their knees from just years of running or even competing in track and field. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen. But as a physician, I personally have never seen it.

Of course overuse pain syndromes are real among runners. But that is usually due to someone increasing their distance faster than their body could adapt to the change. This type of knee problem is usually helped by ice and rest. (never put ice or an ice pack directly on the knee but rather use towel separation. Never ice a knee longer than 15 minutes at a time.

If you over-trained and suffer from “Runner’s Knee”, you will probably recover faster if you stretch appropriately; especially your quadriceps and hamstrings. an “anti-inflammatory” diet is also certainly beneficial.

I am not really a fan of mundane distance running anyway. Distance running can be challenging and beneficial to some extent. And at slow speeds, distance running can be great for burning fat. But if you want to really drive the metabolism and increase your growth hormones to professional athlete levels, you will probably want to include some sprint work on your running days.

Running sprints involves near maximum exertion usually to the point of a significant oxygen deficit. That means that at some point you will have to slow down so your body can catch up and meet its’ oxygen demand. It will usually only take 20 to 30 seconds of sprinting to work up a significant oxygen deficit. This is the type of training that has been shown to effectively increase hormone levels to those of younger people and athletes.

Before making changes to your exercise program, be sure to consult with a physician to discuss the changes you will be making and make sure those changes are right for you.

6 replies on “Is Running Good For You?”

  1. Delores says:

    My husband ran track in high school/college. He didn’t really like other sports. He has knee problems and should have had knee replacement. He was in the military and he was working in stirups doing tree trimming for several years which probably didn’t help.
    I never have run. I think that it is too hard on the body unless you are running on soil. I have no knee or joint problems at all. I am 67. I also have drank raw goats milk since I was in my 20’s. I water skiied a lot in my teenage years and rode bicycles. I think that nutrition has a lot to do with it and not stressing your body unduly. Sports push young men to much while they are growing. Sports drinks are very detrimental to joint health as the acid dissolves minerals and bones. Check the ph of your favorite drinks. Vitamin Water is the same as pop and is the same as battery acid. I am 67 and I had a whole body MRI several years ago and they were amazed that I have no arthritis at all. I have given birth to 6 children. I have raised all of our own food for the past 45 years organically also.

  2. Your son is adorable. What an amazing chance at the good life with a father like you. Michael you are blessed and therefore a blessing.
    Thanks for the info.
    Really need the positive flow coming from others right now.
    Hugs, Charity

  3. Amanda Haley says:

    You are one awesome Chick! – 6 kids and an organic garden!

  4. Basha Z says:

    A nice demonstration! Haha–I’m 65 (just got my Medicare card), have never been hospitalized (except for tonsils when I was 5), in my adult life, and it is certainly a journey to better health in this day and age. And everything they told us turns out not to be true! I hope my no grains and sugar way of eating now, with good fats, raw milk and cheese, grass-fed everything, is the right way to go. I am at the weight I was when I was in my twenties–135 at 5’7″, and feel very peaceful eating this way. But I was addicted to sugar for my whole life, until 4 years ago. Now it is not the way I eat. Part of trying to lose the weight I lost 4 years ago was heavy exercise, and it didn’t work for me. After I lost the weight, 40+ lbs, I didn’t feel the need for exercise, but now I am wanting to get back to the kind of exercise you are talking about here. I am also interested in barefoot running, and my husband got me some of the Skeletoes shoes (we had to send back as they were too small), so I am waiting to get those, as I saw an article of an elderly woman in excellent shape doing barefoot running. What do you think about that kind of running?

    • admin says:

      You know, Basha, when you run barefoot, your body mechanics change to protect itself and this is a good thing. But our feet are so soft from wearing shoes everyday that I am concerned about the possible inflammatory damage we might do when we step on even a pebble. So I feel that if there was some thin flexible barrier between the foot and ground to offer some protection, but not so much that it becomes another shoe, that would probably be an excellent way to go… depending on what surface you are on. I love running on the beach.
      Regarding your diet, right on. I think that people like Sally Fallon, Joe Mercola, and Jordan Rubin are teaching it right. I think Jordan is actually the most on target though, since he also brings in the proper biblical dietary laws which are excellent.

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