Running is renowned for its cardiovascular and calorie-burning effects. However, it is also a weight-bearing exercise, which is any activity that works your bones and muscles against gravity. Weight-bearing exercise stresses your bones, which increases bone density and wards off osteoporosis, or "brittle-bone" disease. However, despite its benefits, running can also contribute to health problems.
Benefits of Weight-bearing Exercises
By building strong bones and reducing your risk of osteoporosis, running reduces your likelihood of falls, broken bones and fractures as you get older. Running might also make you less likely to become disabled as hip fractures from osteoporosis leave about 50 percent of patients unable to walk without help. Beyond its bone-building and heart-healthy benefits, running will also improve your muscle strength, coordination and balance.
Running can cause a variety of injuries such as hip and knee pain, low back pain, shin splints and muscle strain. You may also suffer injuries to your Achilles tendon or feet, such as plantar fasciitis, which causes pain at the bottom of your heel. Running injuries are often due to over training, going too fast too soon, improper technique, improper footwear and strength and flexibility problems, according to "A Quick Look at Running Injuries" published in "Podiatry Management."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends doing 15 to 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercises, such as running, five days a week. Generally speaking, running rookies can complete 10 minutes and gradually increase their time by three minutes every few days, according to the University of Rochester. If you are running at an adequate intensity, you won't be able to say more than a few words without losing your breath.
Tips for Getting Started
If you are not used to running, consult your doctor before getting started, even if you do not have osteoporosis. Always spend at least 10 minutes warming up with an activity such as slow walking. Follow your runs with a cool-down period that includes slow walking for five to 10 minutes and stretching. If you feel pain, take a break from running for a few days and do other weight-bearing or aerobic exercises such as weight lifting, walking or stair-climbing.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005: Appendix C. Glossary
PubMed Health: Osteoporosis
University of Arizona: Bone Builders - Exercise
University of Rochester: Running Safely
"Podiatry Management"; A Quick Look at Running Injuries; Stephen M. Pribut, D.P.M.; January 2004
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity for Everyone
Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images About this Author
Kay Uzoma has been writing professionally since 1999. Her work has appeared in "Reader’s Digest," "Balance," pharmaceutical and natural health newsletters and on websites such as QualityHealth.com. She is a former editor for a national Canadian magazine and holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from York University.
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/393472-is-running-a-weight-bearing-exercise/#ixzz1NIDBdufk