We’re all looking for ways to stay healthy and exercise is the easiest way to do that. Everybody knows that they should be exercising regularly, whether they find the time to do it or not. One of the best ways to exercise is by running because it’s simple, you don’t need any equipment, and it gives you a good all around workout. You’re using a lot of different muscle groups and you’re getting a good cardio workout which is great for losing weight and improving heart health.
If somebody told you that running could be bad for you, you’d probably think that they were talking rubbish. All of the people that you know who run regularly are in great shape so how could it be bad for you? The truth is, even though running is great for you, there are some potential health risks involved, especially if you’re not doing it correctly. If you’re already a runner or you’re thinking about taking it up soon, these are some of the health hazards that you should be aware of.
The most obvious danger when running is physical injuries and there are a lot of different ways that you can hurt yourself. Trips and falls are a potential issue but it’s not very common, it’s far more likely that you’ll sustain an injury due to bad form or lack of correct running gear. If your form is bad, you’ll be taking the impact in your joints a lot more than you should be and, over time, this is going to lead to problems with the knees or the ankles. If left untreated, you might end up doing some serious damage like tearing tendons and ligaments or even breaking the bone, which is going to cause chronic pain and take a long while to heal up properly. This can also be caused by a lack of proper running trainers as well as poor form.
In order to avoid these kinds of injuries, you need to make sure that you’re always wearing suitable footwear and try to concentrate on your form. You should always be looking straight forward, not down at your feet. Make sure that your feet are landing square and that your shoulders are not hunched over. If you’re noticing any kind of pain while you run, you probably have an issue with your form.
Rest days are so important as well but people often ignore that advice when they’re trying to reach fitness goals. If you constantly exercise without any rest days in between, you’re never giving your body any time to recover and that’s when you’re more likely to get injured. As a general rule, you should try to take a day or two each week but really it depends on the person. You should listen to your body and if you feel any pain, you’re pushing yourself too hard and you need to rest for a day or two.
If you do start to experience a lot of pain, it’s important that you stop running right away and go to see a doctor. Most of the time, if you’ve got a foot issue then you should see a podiatrist, however, with running injuries it might be the case that you need to see an orthopedist instead if it has affected other parts of the body. The main difference between a podiatrist and an orthopedist is that a podiatrist is not a medical doctor and is only authorized to work on your feet. If you have a running injury, it could extend into the knees and hips and maybe even the back, so it’s best to see an orthopedist who can deal with that as well. Always take the advice of your doctor and if they tell you that you need to rest for a certain amount of time, don’t try to get back out there any sooner because you’ll do yourself some more damage.
A change in your testosterone levels probably isn’t something that you thought about when you started running but it can be a big problem. Prolonged and fairly casual exercise like jogging has been shown to lower your testosterone levels quite significantly. This is a problem because lower testosterone levels mean that your muscles don’t repair themselves as quickly and it can cause a lack of energy. When your muscles are being worked regularly through running and other exercise, this can be a big problem.
Hormones like testosterone have a big impact on all different areas of our physiology and behaviour so any imbalance is never a good thing and regular running could be a contributing factor to a testosterone imbalance.
Evidence suggests that short bursts of intense activity are actually better for you than prolonged exercise, like running. This is why things like HIIT (high intensity interval training) are becoming so popular at the moment and you may want to cut out some running sessions and try this out instead.
Short periods of running have been shown to boost your immune system but new research suggests that a longer period of running could actually suppress some of your immune system responses. This means that people who are running on a regular basis might actually have a much higher risk of getting sick and developing certain diseases. You can offset some of these effects by living a healthy lifestyle and eating well etc. but it could still be an issue for you.
That doesn’t mean that any running at all is going to make you sick, it just means that you need to limit the amount that you do. 2 to 3 hours a week is the maximum that is recommended, any more than that and you will start to see some negative effects on your immune system.
You shouldn’t let this scare you off running completely. It is still good exercise and it’s a great way to get your cardio in, however, you need to include it in a varied workout program. If you’re just running and not doing anything else, it might not actually be that good for your health.