You’ve probably heard at some point that long distance running contributes to the development of arthritis in knees. According to a new study, long distance running does not cause knee arthritis, and ironically, it can actually help to prevent it.
The belief that running leads to knee arthritis is founded upon the high impact nature of the exercise, and the stress it can put on the knees. Osteoarthritis, particularly in the knee, is one of the most common forms of knee arthritis. OA develops over time as cartilage and joint tissue degrade from overuse. While this can be exacerbated by activities like running, the study indicates that if knees are healthy to begin with, there will be no further development of OA.
The study, which examined more than 75,000 participants – all active runners – found that running had absolutely no impact on the development of OA. Actually, the participants were less likely to develop the condition than non-active people. Why exactly this is the case, is still a mystery. Researchers are now conducting a new study to try and determine the correlation between high impact exercise, and a low risk for osteoarthritis.
Walking has been the premier low-impact activity recommended to arthritis patients by physicians. The activity is proven to help control weight, keeping joints and muscles limber and healthy. Running puts about three-times as much force on the joints as walking, which can place someone at a higher risk for injury. Done with good form at a moderate pace, running can indeed be more efficient than walking in terms of burning calories.
Regardless of these studies’ impacts on the way doctors prescribe exercise, one thing remains true, it is always beneficial to do so. No longer must you worry about developing OA from higher impact exercises; though if you wish to err on the side of caution, utilize low impact exercise instead.
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