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Why We Run: Is It for You?

The Pros and Cons of Improving Body and Mind Health Through Running

You don’t have to look far to find someone raving about the benefits of running. Seemingly, there are new converts every day whose lives have been transformed by hitting the pavement. Maybe you’re one of those converts, or you’ve already been running for years. Perhaps you’re one of the many who has wondered if it’s all it’s cracked up to be and if it could be for you.

In this blog post, we unpack the pros and cons of all things running.

Pro: Cardiovascular System Boost

Aerobic activities, like running, significantly reduce your risk of certain diseases. Your chance of dying from any cause is reduced by 29%. Your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease is reduced by 50% when you run for leisure. Simply running for 5-10 minutes per day can significantly improve your risk of disease and mortality.

Con: Overuse Injuries

When you’re new to running, it’s crucial to start slowly and listen to your body. Coming out of the gate too aggressively can cause injuries before you have a chance to reap the benefits of running, possibly deterring you from your new hobby. Common injuries include plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, shin splints, IT band syndrome, and tendonitis.

Gradually ramping up helps your body adapt better. Research shows that adding about 10% to your distance every week is ideal for warding off injuries. Your doctor can work with you on the best way to start if you do want to begin running.

Pro: Improves Your Daily Functioning

One of the most significant rewards of running is that you feel more energized and capable to accomplish your daily activities. Walking longer distances and climbing stairs without getting winded is a game-changer. Even people with existing joint issues experience improvements when they take up running. While running is sometimes thought to cause knee or joint pain to worsen, research shows otherwise. Since you strengthen the muscles and tendons around the knees while keeping your weight at a healthy level, it can actually improve their function.

Con: Monotonous

While some people find that going for a run clears their heads or gives them a chance to focus, others find running to be boring, frankly. That feeling can deter even the most motivated of folks. There are ways to make running routines more stimulating, however. Varying the type of running, routes, and getting a good music playlist can drastically improve the experience for those who find running less than stimulating.

Pro: Works Every Muscle in Your Body

Running is a full-body workout. Going downhill and uphill, runners utilize different muscle groups. When you’re finished with a run, you’ll have used almost every muscle group in your body — from core muscles to your arms and of course, your legs.

Should You Run?

We may be biased, but we say yes! With your doctor’s green light, of course. It’s beneficial for every age group and fitness level. Just make sure to take proper precautions:

  • Start slowly
  • Warm-up
  • Wear proper footwear and replace them at the appropriate intervals
  • Listen to your body
  • Drink electrolytes

Beacon Specialists are at the Ready

Our physicians are here to help you keep running and doing whatever activities you enjoy. If pain is keeping you from what you love to do, we’re here to get you back to it. Contact us for a same-day appointment or schedule a time that works for your schedule to experience the Beacon difference.