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Aug 29

Post marathon blues?

The Adelaide Running Festival was held last weekend, finishing at the wonderful new Adelaide Oval, and we are gearing up for the Spring Running Season with the two big Ultramarathons soon – Yurrebilla Ultra 56km and the Heysen 105.

As runners, we are always hearing from concerned friends, relatives and strangers that we must be damaging our knees, hurting our hips, using up our heart beats or other such nonsense. Now we have the proof we knew all along – it really is good for us and is associated with far better outcomes than not running. This is a 21 year long longitudinal study, where they followed the same group of people. The study was published in 2008 by Dr James Fries, from Stanford University, who tracked 528 runners and 423 non-runners beginning in 1984.

An excerpt:

Physical Health:

“You are less likely to get blood clots and varicose veins. Bones become stronger and denser. It’s a treatment for osteoporosis. It prevents fractures of the hips and spine. The ligaments get bigger and stronger – they protect the joints from wobbling, which is one of the causes joints wear out. Lungs get stronger.”

Other conclusions from the same study:
– Runners suffer fewer disabilities
– Runners delay age-related disabilities by 2 decades
– Runners are 7 times LESS LIKELY to require knee replacements
– Runners are less likely to suffer from cancer
– Running does NOT increase hip, back or knee problems.

Weight Loss
A 2012 study from Lawrence Berkley National Lab compared the weight loss of 32k runners vs 15k walkers. Over six years, the runners averaged 90% more weight loss than the walker for the same amount of calories burned.

Makes you smarter
A series of studies conducted in Georgia in 2003, concluded that submaximal aerobic exercise improves people’s ability to process information. A 2004 study from UCLA showed that consistent exercise helps regenerate nerve function in the brain”