The other day I had an appointment with a doctor who told me I should consider giving up running. She said that running created inflammation and that inflammation breeds disease. I can tell you right now that at this point in my life I’m not giving up running. I agree that there are a lot of reasons a person shouldn’t run. I think it causes inflammation and that is bad, especially if, like me, you aren’t very good at icing. There is research to prove it puts a lot of pressure on your soft tissues and as someone fascinated with fascia I know that’s not good. Running can cause small stress fractures in the bones. None of these are positive. I know how awful I felt after I ran the Hartford Marathon in 2005, and I think a marathon (like almost any extreme) is not good for the body. Of course, moderation is always an important factor when you do anything. But every body and person is different and I know that I need running. And as luck would have it, there are actually some good point about running.
I’ve always thought running was bad for your joints, but if you are really good about doing exercises and stretches to keep the joints safe, you might be able to combat that. Turns out, the opposite might be true. A study done a few years ago tracking over 1,000 people for over 20-years found that runners had the same risk of becoming arthritic as non-runners. And the compression that happens to the cartilage with running and other sports might actually be good for the cartilage keeping it healthier and thicker by supplying more oxygen to the cartilage.
But what I find more important about running is that it’s good for my mind. I cannot meditate, but running is meditative for me. I can think out problems. If I’m running with friends I can talk out problems or just laugh about silly things. Running helps me de-stress. I can clear my mind and find stress relief with walking, but it’s not the same. And I’m not sure I can explain why.
Plus, it’s a great calorie burner, which is really helpful for someone likes me who loves loves loves food. I love all types of movement, but there is not other type of exercises at gives me the same relief running provides, and I need that. All our bodies require slightly different things. I suspect eventually I’ll need to give up running but I don’t look forward to that day.