Health Team

Negative running myths could hold people back, but some carry little truth

Posted May 19

Running can be a great way to boost your cardiovascular fitness, and it's also a great way to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Certain myths about running, though, could scare people away from the exercise.

Some people have heard that running is bad for the knees, and that it may even cause arthritis.

"While you certainly can develop arthritis over time, it's not necessarily the running that's going to be the thing that makes you develop arthritis," said Cleveland Clinic orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kim Gladden.

Negative running myths could hold people back, but some carry little truth

A recent study found that running may actually help protect against inflammation and arthritis in the knees down the road.

Another common running myth is that runners must be in top physical shape.

Gladden said as long as a doctor has cleared an individual for cardiovascular exercise, he or she can start slow and build up to your desired fitness level.

She says anyone who can walk three miles without a problem can try alternating the walk with intervals of jogging for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then, increase the duration of the jogging over time.

Gladden said running uses different muscles than other sports and activities.

So, start with a minimal amount first and then add no more than 10 percent in distance or time for every three to four workout sessions.

It's also important to get enough muscle rest to prevent injury, Gladden said.

"You do want to allow those periods of rest so your body can accommodate to the exercise it's just done and then get a new set point so that you can keep on building from there," Gladden said.

Gladden says sharp pains or painful pops are never good and might be a sign of an acute injury.

When runners have sustained pain with every foot strike, it's a sign to stop. Gladden also said a nagging pain that keeps getting worse over time may signal that it's time to be evaluated by a doctor to prevent an overuse injury.

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  • John Kramer May 20, 6:37 a.m.
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    TL;DR Running is just like coffee and red wine. Good for you. And bad for you.