Why Doctors Still Think Running Is Bad For You
We can’t deny that runners get injured. According to research, up to 60% of runners suffer from injuries while training for an event — and, this is usually when they see a doctor.
For doctors, all they see are the injuries. More than any other sport or physical activity, running seems to bring in the most number of patients. So, it’s easy to conclude that running is bad.
Doctors will often claim that running is “bad for your knees”, “straining for your back” and “leads to arthritis”. But, that’s not actually, scientifically, true.
Just because injuries are common doesn’t mean that running is bad for your body or your health.
Contradictory to what some people will say, there are lots of great studies that show running is great for you — it’s proven to improve heart health, strengthen bones & muscles, slow down aging and improve mental health. In one study they even showed that older men who run frequently have better knees than their non-running friends!
… so what about all those injuries??
That’s where we need to talk about stress. Running is a stressful activity. It involves a lot of repetitive, high impact loading and if your body isn’t prepared to handle that stress, you will get injured.
But, high stress doesn’t mean it’s bad for your body. The benefits of running far outweigh the risks, and if you train in a way that prepares your body to handle that stress you will be a happy and healthy runner.
Stress, in controlled amounts, is actually good for our bodies. We need stress in order to grow, strengthen and develop.
If all you do is sit on the couch, you won’t stress your body, and you won’t get injured. But, you’ll become weak, unfit and fragile.
Not stressing our bodies is not the solution — training smart is.
We need to train in a way that gradually increases our tolerance to stress and builds resilience. That’s the key to running healthy and staying injury-free.
Lastly, if you get injured, don’t take it as a sign to stop running. Use it as an opportunity to learn and get better!