If you are passionate about running or even if you are just a casual jogger, it is likely you have encountered someone telling you that running will hurt your knees badly, especially when you are older. Experts have been tackling this question for a while and have come to a conclusion on whether running can really cause any long-term damages or is it just an old wives tale.
Why is it thought that running can be bad for your knees?
The repetitive nature of running makes many people doubt whether it can be good for them, considering how the cartilage is stressed during jogging. As knees support the whole body during the exercise, the common belief is that running can develop knee osteoarthritis. That goes especially for people with heavier weight – the harder the landing on your feet, the more shock cartilage has to take, hence it is thought running can be dangerous for overweight people who are looking to lose some weight through such an effective cardiovascular exercise like running is.
The truth is that no research has really shown proven results about running actually contributing to causing arthritis by narrowing joint space nor has it been proven that running can have devastating affects on cartilage. Quite contrary, running can strengthen the joints and cartilage, not to even mention overall health benefits such as increased cardiovascular and mental health, weight loss and even healthier skin.
Though it is not impossible you might develop arthritis due to heavy pounding while running, it is not highly likely. Arthritis is a genetic condition but running itself is not the cause for that nor will it contribute to damaging your knees. In fact, people who are in perfect health and don’t have any problems with their knees will benefit from running as the high impact workout will strengthen the cartilage. Even if the knees are under greater force while running, the claim as if running would cause damage to the knees is still more of a speculation than a proven fact.
Cautiousness is the key
Though there are health specialists who are still considering running to be a threat to your knees, the overall verdict is simple: running will not damage your knees as long as you are careful and do the workout according to your capabilities. Even if you have a condition that disables the knees’ ability to work naturally as perfect shock absorbers, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t jog – you can start off by doing daily walks and then gradually start jogging. What matters is to listen to your body and stop the workout if your knees start to ache.
Regardless of your weight or current level of physical activity, running can be a part of your exercise routine if you do it reasonably. Before taking up running, consult with your doctor and take in account your health background. What can hurt your knees, is running incorrectly like not considering your physical limits, using wrong running shoes or just pushing yourself too hard.