Running is regarded as one of the most effective cardiovascular workouts – especially for those looking to achieve their fitness goals while looking for a sustainable and enjoyable activity. Plus it’s something just about anyone can do (with a little practice). But for all the good that running does for the human body, it can take a serious toll on muscles, bones and joints. This is especially true for those runners who have been out of practice for a while. So to help you pay attention to the importance of technique and recovery, here is a little bit more about the damage that running can do to your body.
What effects running can have in the body
Knees and joints
Both running and jogging are high impact sports. This mean that they put immense pressure on your bones and joints, particularly when you are not paying proper attention to form. While running on a treadmill puts you at the highest risk of joint damage, even cross country runs (offering significantly less impact) can be damaging.
Jogging and running have a particularly nasty effect on the knee. These particular sustained injuries can lead to traumatic and expensive operations and will likely limit your ability to be active in the future. To avoid this, runners should maintain muscle and cartilage strength. This can be done by keeping up with regular high and low impact exercises that target the legs.
Dr. Jon Schriner, faculty member at Michigan State University says:
“It’s well known that heavier people are at higher risk for arthritis. For every pound of weight a person carries – whether it’s in their body or they put it on in a pack – they have four pounds on the knee when running. In other words, if you weigh 100 pounds, there are 400 pounds of force on the knee with each foot strike. It can also depend on how the person is running: how high you lift your foot off the ground and how you strike the ground. Joggers tend to strike with less force, runners tend to have longer strides and put more force on the knee. There are many other factors that go into how running can affect your knees such as weight, body structure, shoe selection, and technique – we refer to it as going too far too fast too soon.”
Loss of facial fatty tissue
While the loss of facial fatty tissue is not necessarily a dangerous thing, it can pose quite an unpleasant surprise for long distance runners. This occurs mostly in runners over the age of 40. Fat beneath the layers of skin on the face burn off at a rapid rate, resulting in an extreme loss of skin-elasticity and overall gauntness. These layers of fat would normally fill out the skin, making it look smoother. The absence of enough fatty tissue will make you look older than you are.
Gluteus Medius Tendinosis
Extreme long-distance running can often result in wear and tear. Sudden injuries can also be caused to the muscle group between your hips and knees. This results in extreme pain in the side of the hip (although it originates in the glutes), a lack of mobility and very long recovery times. Avoiding this comes down to paying attention to form. It generally occurs when one (weaker) leg is constantly lifted more to the side than the other during running. A weakness in the concerned muscle group gradually leads to gluteus-medius-tendinosis.
Shin splints occur often in runners who are fairly new to the fitness world. It also occurs in runners who have recently intensified or changed their routines. Shin Splints are the result of overworked muscles, tendons and bone tissue behind the shin-bone. They inflame to cause a persistently dull ache in the shins.
To avoid them, it is essential to work towards your fitness goals gradually and to stretch before and after each run. Treatment often involves plenty of rest and pain relievers, while applying ice to the shins and calves.
Contact Trifocus Fitness Academy
For information on enrolling in a course that offers sports conditioning coach certification, contact a team member from Trifocus Fitness Academy today and speak to us for details.