Are you a runner or thinking about taking up running? Have you heard that running is bad for your knees? Running is a sport that anyone can learn with proper training, has huge fitness benefits (mind and body!), and can be done anywhere if you have a pair of running shoes!
A 2013 study, published in Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, compared the incidence of osteoarthritis in runners and walkers. Of the nearly 75,000 runners in the study, 2.6% developed osteoarthritis during the seven-year study. Of the almost 15,000 walkers, 4.7% were diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Other non-running exercise was determined to increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis by 2.4% over running. In other words, running reduced the incidence of osteoarthritis when compared to less strenuous exercise. The study found that while running results in in more impact force per step than walking, walking an equal distance requires so many more steps that the accumulation of impact force was the same. That’s right. Your knees get the same overall pounding whether you are running or walking. Long term knee damage usually occurs because of osteoarthritis or ligament damage. Since running reduces the former and actually strengthens bone and tendons, you’ll improve your knees, not damage them! So the next time someone asks about knees and running, let them know that if they don’t run, their knees are seven times more likely to wear out! #runstrong.