Ancient humans had to hunt for survival. They also had to either fight or flight (run away) when being hunted. This invariably required them to be robust and agile. However modern amenities have eliminated tough physical exertion in our day to day activities.. And this has caused/increased all varieties of Life style diseases, like Diabetes, Hypertension, Psychological disorders etc. All these diseases can be reduced to a great extent by a single most important factor as good physical exercise done regularly…In this regard Running is an excellent method of physical exertion with benefits to all the parts of the body.
Any aerobic exercise specially running induces the secretion of ‘endorphins’ which are Nature’s incentive to make a person feel ‘euphoric’ apart from feeling, confident and agile.
Good aerobic exercise like running relieves the much talked about ‘stress’ of modern day lives. It’s unfortunate that people often complain that they are so exhausted after work. That feeling of tiredness is actually psychological wearing out and is not physical tiredness. And these are the very people who will require and reap the benefits of running. Running, as a De-stressor relieves their tired feeling; getting them happy and refreshed for the whole day.
Brain atrophy in old age to a certain extent is a normal phenomenon. However, it is documented in scientific studies that running causes Brain cells to regenerate and also keeps several degenerative illnesses of the brain in abeyance.
Scientific studies have also shown that running increases memory.
Walking is much more practiced by one and all, especially in India due to lack of will power for running but walking is a very poor cousin of running.
The benefits of walking are minimal unlike the robust exercise as in running. Running makes the heart pump blood vigorously compared to, it’s performance at rest. The blood vessels of almost all the organs of the body dilate allowing for the greater flow of blood. This increases the nutrition to all the organs specially the muscles, in turn bettering their efficiency and the longevity. The coronary arteries of the heart also dilate with better nourishment to the heart, which reduces the incidence ‘heart attacks’. Muscles contract and lungs expand vigorously, blood glucose gets utilized rapidly, which enhance overall efficiency of our body.
All these factors occur to a minimal extent in a mild exercise like walking. In fact an athlete heart can pump 20-25L of blood in a minute when he/she is running whereas an average sedentary person’s heart would be able to pump only 8-9L that too it is not sustained. Also he would feel exhausted quite soon. In a regular athlete the resting pulse rate may come down even below 50/mt ( normal 74/mt) making the heart much more efficient.
Dr(Col)T S Vasan
Artemis Health Institute
Running and the bones:
There is a direct relationship between running and reduced risk of some diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus and depression.
Running provides a direct benefit to the musculo-skeletal system.
Bones: Running increases the mineral density of the bone and reduces the risk of osteoporosis with age. It has been found that the average bone mineral density in the thigh is 5% higher in runners than their non running companions and 8% higher than those who did not exercise at all, making them less susceptible to fracture following trivial falls.
Joints: Running builds and strengthens muscle tissue, especially in the lower limbs. Increased muscle strength also provides a protective cover to the joints.
Heart, blood circulation, respiratory system: Running has been for long documented as an excellent method for strengthening the cardiovascular system. The heart is also a muscle and overtime the constant effort from running strengthens it and reduces the risk of heart disease or failure. The increased effort during running also flushes the arteries and improves the respiratory system.
Dr SKS Marya Gurgaon
Immunity: Running boosts the immune system of the body and its ability to fight and recover from disease and illness. It increases the fat loss from the body.
Psychological: In addition, the release of endorphins while running enhances the state of mind and the wellness of the body.
One has to be careful as excessive running may cause injuries. Most of these injuries are not serious (with the exception of heatstroke). The best course of action is thus to prevent these injuries in the first place.
Some of the causative or aggravating factors for running associative injuries are over training errors, inadequate flexibility, inadequate strength, inappropriate footwear and poor biomechanics. Common running injuries include plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, metatarsal stress syndrome and stress fractures.
It is unclear if long-distance running causes the hip and knee joints to deteriorate. The current evidence suggests that moderate level of running do not increase the risk of osteoarthritis of hip and knee for healthy people.
Infact there is evidence to suggest that this activity might even have some protective effect on the joints. Increase muscle strength and constant motion preserves the biomechanics of the joint. A critical area to focus on is to get an appropriate running shoe for the feet – depending on whether you are flat footed, high arched, or neutral arched. Very often inappropriate running shoes cause foot pain, which gradually tends to creep up the skeletal system to the ankles, then knees, hips and ultimately the lower back.
MS; DNB ; MCh ( UK ) ;FICS
Director Orthopaedics & institute of Joint Surgery
Max Health Care
Educate yourself on these basics and enjoy a healthier life – start running and living.