Thursday, January 19, 2017

Running: Your Knees

So in the midst of all the crazy things that have been happening around here (house buying and more!) that have distracted me from writing in my good ol' blog, I did get an article from my company's health newsletter that I thought would be cool to share.

When I got to work on Tuesday I had this article in my inbox. It was very well timed, given that the day before I had someone telling me I should stop running 'because it's bad for your knees and I knew a guy once who (fill in ailment here).'

I'm sharing a screenshot of the article since I'm fairly certain the link won't work:

I think the last sentence is interesting: "...this study suggests exercise can be a type of medicine."

I don't really think this part is news. I think it's something a lot of people - particularly those of use who are routinely active, including logging hours and hours at the gym every week - will verify, at least anecdotally. I have no qualms talking about how I use the gym as a "crutch" to help my mood, just how much better I feel when I run or lift (or whatever), and that I really start to get grumpy if I don't.

But anyways, back to the main point! Running may not be bad for your joints!

YES it is high impact exercise, but that doesn't necessarily make it bad for someone who's healthy, and I think it's great that this is being studied.

To throw in my own anecdote: After getting the MRI of my knee (just before my half marathon at Thanksgiving) Dr Gent told me my knee looked great. All parts of it. Bone, cartilage, ligaments, etc...everything looked just how it should and perfectly healthy. And that was after a season of triathlon and marathon training. The verdict? Muscular imbalance, easily addressed with PT exercises, stretching, rolling, and perhaps crossing my legs less at work. *She says as she uncrosses her legs...*

This doesn't mean you can just go and run miles and miles with no consequence. You still have to take care of yourself. Stretching and strength training are an integral part of running, and throwing in an ice bath after a long, hot run is a good idea too.

I guess my whole point with this is not to let some random people with their uninformed opinions detract you from doing something you want to do. I like running, I want to keep doing it as long as possible, and I'm fine ignoring people who tell me I shouldn't keep running marathons because it's "bad for my knees".

You know what else is bad for your knees? Sitting all day! (Don't get me wrong though, I do plenty of that too :P)

Another anecdote to go along with that: At the end of December/beginning of January I was sick and very tired, so I took almost two weeks off from everything. Not being active made my other knee start hurting! It felt like a strain behind my knee and in my hamstring, and a bit like I was hyperextending when activating my hamstring (bending my knee). So weird.

When I started running again I babied it a little. I did yoga for a few days up to my run, including a lot of stretching and foam/RockBall rolling, which I continued before and after runs once I started up again. By the time I finished my third three-miler, all of that strain/pain was gone. It still amazes me the amount of pain and discomfort we can end up in from not being active! No more two week off stints for me! Active lifestyle is the way to go!

I know I don't often ask for opinions and comments here, but I would really be interested in what anyone has to say about this! Have you ever had someone tell you to give up a hobby because it's "bad" for you? What was your reaction? I'm curious!


PS...I promise to post an actual update about stuff at some point. I'm honestly waiting for some stuff to go through with the house so I don't have to knock on wood every five seconds!

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