Reason to Run #52: I want to keep my joints active now and 30 years from now

It may surprise you to know that runners tend to have better orthopedic units than non-runners as the decades go by. When I wrote my book Running Until You’re 100, I compiled the studies on this issue and could not find any showing negative effects from running.

The old saying “use it or lose it” rings true. The research continues to pile up sowing that if you use your joints, muscles, tendons, etc., in a natural way, without abusing them, they will continue to adapt and stay healthy.  

The body is programmed to adjust and make changes based upon what you do regularly. If you run every other day, and insert the walk breaks needed for you, the orthopedic units will tend to continue adapting.

My run-walk-run method has walk breaks programmed from the beginning of a run. This provides a rest period for the joints, etc., from the stresses of running. During this break, the body repairs and replenishes a little at a time.

During my first 20 years of running, I was injured about every 20 days. Since I started taking walk breaks, over 30 years ago, I haven’t had a single overuse running injury. I’m not alone. I hear from others about every day who were regularly injured until they started using the run-walk-run method from the beginning of the run. They have also avoided the return of what was, for many, regular periods of time off from running.

In Running Until You’re 100, I showcase a number of those who are headed toward that age group and are still running a great deal. One is Don McNelley who was 85 when I interviewed him. That year, he finished 29 marathons. Don told me that his non-running friends accused him of choosing his parents well, but that was not the case: both sedentary parents had to have hip replacements in their 70’s.

Learn More about Marathon Training in Jeff’s Book 100 Reasons to Run…Now!  and  Running Until You’re 100.

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