It’s no secret that regular exercise is a key component of a healthy lifestyle. Studies show that running is a particularly useful form of exercise. Runners are less likely to suffer from obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some forms of cancer. Running strengthens your muscles and skeleton, improves your mood, and can even help prevent premature aging. Sounds like a great deal. But is there such a thing as too much running? Some research suggests that there could be. Read on to learn more.
Too Much Running Can Harm Your Health?
Which group of people do you think has a higher level of coronary plaque buildup, avid runners or couch potatoes? A German study that compared 108 marathon runners to a sedentary control group found that the marathoners had a higher level of this risk factor for heart disease. Another study that tracked 52,000 people for 30 years found that the benefits of running diminished in people who ran more than 20 miles a week or faster than eight miles an hour.
When your body works hard (such as running a grueling marathon), it burns fat and sugar for fuel. This process creates free radicals that can create plaque in your arteries by binding with cholesterol as well as cause oxidative stress, a process that damages your cells. While your body can generally handle the type of oxidative stress that occurs in the first hour of exercise, prolonged stress can predispose you to problems.
Finding the Right Balance
This news may tempt you to give up on running for exercise altogether, but don’t head for the couch just yet: running at the right intensity and for the right duration is still extremely beneficial. The large study referenced earlier also found that running in moderation dropped a person’s risk of death by 25% over the 30 year period examined. The researchers found that running between five and 19 miles a week over three or four sessions provided the greatest benefits. There’s no need to sprint, either: a pace of six or seven miles an hour is optimal.
Chiropractic Care Can Protect Your Body and Optimize Your Performance
Whether you take an occasional jog around the block or are still dreaming of placing first in a marathon, chiropractic care can help you recover from some types of running-related injuries and help you avoid new ones. A chiropractor can diagnose and treat misalignment of the spine as well as soft-tissue problems that affect running mechanics. Even seemingly small flaws in running form can result in uneven distribution of stress and impacts that puts unnecessary wear and tear on particular body parts–especially if you run often and over long distances. The thing to remember if you’re a runner suffering from musculoskeletal problems is that they can be both the cause and the effect of flawed biomechanics. Some sports chiropractors perform “gait analysis” to identify potential issues and help athletes improve their running mechanics.
So while there may be such a thing as too much running (at least at the more extreme end of the spectrum), don’t let that stop you from taking advantage of this enjoyable and effective type of exercise. Practice moderation and you’ll reap the many rewards of this healthy activity. If you are a runner suffering from an injury give our office a call at (703) 912-7822 or visit us at Chiropractor in Burke, VA.