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Is running bad for you?

I’ve had a few healthy, fit friends lately tell me that running is bad for you. They say that it’s too jarring on your joints and a bad way to exercise.

I’ve been thinking a lot about running, and I’d really like to be able to do at least short runs, but now I’m worried about it. I already have some joint issues… my knees ache a lot and I know some of that has to do with my weight, but some of it is also (along with ankle issues) thanks to an early life of too much pointe shoe too soon… so I don’t want to do anything that is going to make my joints worse.

I’ve been thinking that just the right equipment, technique, and training schedule should be enough to keep things safe, but I don’t know. What do you think? If you run, how did you train? How do you keep your joints safe and healthy? How important is it to buy the right shoes, and how do you do that, and what do you do if you have zero dollars to spend on shoes?

Thanks for your help… I’m feeling all conflicted.


6 Responses

  1. […] What do you want to know?  Send me questions/comments/ideas at my Formspring account, or stop by Skinny Sushi to tell me whether or not running is bad for me. […]

  2. Great post with some great questions. First of all, most studies show that weight bearing exercise helps maintain bone density, which is really good for you, especially for you ladies.
    a big thing to remember is that you need to start slow and build up mileage slowly. This will eliminate a lot of the soreness issues. Most of us just jump into things and do way too much, way too fast.
    Good shoes are vital. If you want to check my blog, I go into detail about shoes, but the most important part is to get to a specialty running store. They will help you find the type of shoes you need for your feet, stride and expectations. The bad news is that they aren’t free. Talk to the salesperson though. I have seen them really work with people to keep things in their budget.
    Don;t let a few negative comments, usually from people who have never run anywhere, make you shy away from an activity that is probably the most healthy way to get in shape and feel better.
    Good luck and happy running,

  3. Once you know what shoes you need, try looking for them online. I have saved $50 to $60 on some of my shoes.

  4. I’m not a runner (can’t run very far, due to exercise induced asthma), but I completely agree with rundad. Running in my limited manner is the only form of exercise that actually allows me to lose weight. Walking is good for fitness, aerobics is good for fitness, weight training is good for fitness, but running is the only thing that makes me actually lose my flab. If you’re worried about your joints, there are ways to minimize impact. First, get the right shoes, as mentioned. Second, run on a track or a treadmill, instead of the sidewalk or the road. There’s a little more give. And starting out slow is the only way to do it. Yes, almost anyone can run, but almost anyone can also lift things. You wouldn’t start off lifting 300 pounds, so you shouldn’t start running miles and miles. Build up slowly to get used to it.

  5. I started running a little over a year ago. When I started I struggled to run for 3 or 4 minutes. I never pushed myself. My first goal was to run 3 minutes, walk 3 minutes for one mile. Once I felt comfortable I started to add minutes to the amount of time I ran. Once I could run an 11 minute mile comfortably I pushed myself to run a little further every day. After a year I can run four miles. This weekend I am running my first race. It’s only a 5k (3 miles) but I’m pretty proud of myself for making it this far. I’d like to continue to work my way up to even bigger runs. As an added bonus I’ve noticed a change in my body. Overall I feel like I’ve gotten smaller, my legs are especially tighter. The best part is the amount of motivation I feel to run (more than I ever felt about going to the gym!) Every run is like an accomplishment. I would encourage anyone to take up running, but do so slowly and listen to your body! Good sneakers, stretching, and icing are a huge help!

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