Do this to add 3 years to your life
According to the researchers, many incomparable benefits exist for runners including:
- 25%–40% overall reduced risk of premature mortality
- They live approximately 3 years longer than non-runners
- 45%–70% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease-related mortality
- 30%–50% reduced risk of cancer-related mortality
- Running may be protective against mortality resulting from neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and respiratory infections
The researchers also mention that running is a physical activity with few barriers to entry since a gym membership is not needed. Due to this ease of access, running has become one of the most popular physical activities, with more than 17 million people participating in road races in 2015.
If you are interested in joining the millions of other runners, Dr. Mark Neault, an Advocate Medical Group orthopedic surgeon with Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill., offers the following suggestions about how to begin and remain safe from injury:
- Be careful to work into a running program gradually. When looking for more of a challenge, increase speed or distance, but not both at the same time.
- Varying speeds and distances in the form of intervals can help mix things up to prevent some overuse issues.
- Be careful with shoe selection. Very few feet are perfect. Most people require support…. either from a quality shoe, an insert or both. Have a running store fit you with shoes. Many have a return guarantee.
- Change the path and direction you run to help prevent overuse and keep things interesting.
- Be careful about running on concrete since it offers little give, but also be careful running on loose gravel since it can increase chance of slippage and trauma.
- Watch inclines, especially on treadmills, since they can be very challenging on your knees.
- If you are struggling with nagging issues, have a physical therapist who specializes in running perform a gait analysis.
Dr. Neault emphasizes that most running injuries are from overuse and are preventable if you are mindful of the recommendations above.
Mary Heinz, a trainer at Advocate Condell Centre Club, adds that it can be tricky to stay motivated when you take up running. Here are some ways to combat your urge to quit:
- Run with others. When you have someone running alongside you, it motivates you to keep going. Also consider having someone bike alongside you.
- If you don’t have anyone to run with, there are many different community groups/clubs who run together. Try searching online for one close to you.
- Take different routes. There are so many different places you could run to help make it not as boring.
- Music is always helpful.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.