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Is Running Hurting Rather Than Helping You?

Posted by on Feb. 18, 2015 at 12:30 PM
  • 7 Replies

The 1 Thing No Runner Wants to Hear

mom jogging with stroller and dog

Many avid runners start like this -- you loathe the first mile and constantly try to trick yourself into stopping. But then you finally get your groove, and you a) don't ever want to stop, and b) get defensive if anyone tries to make you. If you've run with shin splints, the flu, or nine months pregnant, you get it. For whatever reason, science-y type people seem to always find reasons why we shouldn't run so much, and today, they've added one to the mix that will make every one of us joggers stop short.

To cut to the chase: If you run more than 2.4 hours a week, the effects on your body are the same as if you've been sitting on the couch, binge-watching the past two seasons of House of Cards.

We know. Whaaa?

Researchers in Denmark followed over 1,000 joggers over a period of 12 years. They also monitored 413 couch potatoes, although likely did not call them that to their faces.

The results appear in the new issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, but allow us to break them down for you right here: Strenuous joggers were as likely to die as those who never exercised at all.

The runners who really reaped health benefits (that is, had the lowest death rates) were those classified as "light joggers." Or, to be exact, people who ran three times a week for only 20-48 minutes each time.

The reason is that while running (some) strengthens your heart, running a lot apparently puts a lot of stress on your cardiovascular system.

Dr. Peter Schnohr, the lead researcher and chief cardiologist of the Copenhagen City Heart Study, who is apparently unaware of how protective we runners are of our endorphin highs, said, "If your goal is to decrease risk of death and improve life expectancy, jogging a few times a week at a moderate pace is a good strategy. Anything more is not just unnecessary. It may be harmful."

We'd like to know how many people felt so stressed by this news that they had to go for a run.

Will this study make you rethink how much you run?

Have you had increased health benefits of running?


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by on Feb. 18, 2015 at 12:30 PM
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by *Ada* on Feb. 18, 2015 at 1:24 PM
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Meanwhile I'm training for a marathon. It's one study and there are so many variables so I don't put much stock into it.
by on Feb. 18, 2015 at 1:41 PM

I don't run much if at puts a lot of impact stress on joints.  There are other ways to get a CV workout that don't involve running for hours.

by Member on Feb. 20, 2015 at 12:30 AM
1 mom liked this
I run because I like the peace and serenity it brings me. I workout at home with kids (very young), phones, dogs and husband to distract me. When I run its just me and God's great creation. I'm going to run because I love how it makes me feel if I get nothing else!
by Silver Member on Feb. 20, 2015 at 7:42 AM
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Hey, if your running is making you feel injured, more tired, or giving you excuses to eat waaaaay more calories than are healthy, then maybe there's a problem.  But we were designed to run.  I haven't had a running injury yet (knock, knock) so no, I am not rethinking my running.

by Member on Feb. 20, 2015 at 1:44 PM

Well, this falls more into line with what I'm ABLE to run, given injuries lately. Lol. When the warm weather rolls around, however, I'll be putting in more than 2.4 hours a week.

I guess, like the article said, it depends on why you run. But I'm not too worried about it. I'd rather die healthy than a couch potato. ;)

by Suzanne on Feb. 21, 2015 at 3:09 AM

This.  This is one study, and as someone who studies evidence to provide the best health care I can, I will say that for this one study making these claims, there are thousands of others refuting these results.  Most studies are done with results in mind ("Let's prove that running a lot is just as bad as sitting on the couch all day."), so one has to consider more than one study when making decisions that affect their long term health.  I can tell you that running was instrumental in my weight loss journey, and part of that included running well over an hour a day.  When my blood pressure dropped from 138/88 to 108/70, my health was clearly improved.

Any of us can drop dead at any time.  My mother's cousin passed away last year, and he was an avid runner, clean bill of health, one of the few in my family, and he and his family were visiting the Great Wall of China, and he dropped dead talking to a group of people.  Totally unexpected.  It was shocking, and he left behind a 14 year old daughter and a wife.  But he didn't suffer from diabetes, heart disease, joint issues, or any of the other many ailments to many of our other relatives, who choose not to be as healthy, suffer with.  He didn't die in pain, after years of suffering, as many of our other relatives do.

My point is, I call BS on this ONE study.  I would rather run and at least FEEL healthy and good than sit on my ass with poor self-confidence and die at the same age.

Quoting JerseyAirGurl: Meanwhile I'm training for a marathon. It's one study and there are so many variables so I don't put much stock into it.


"Don't sacrifice what you want most for what you want right now."

by Bronze Member on Feb. 21, 2015 at 3:23 AM
I count running and the ability to run, a gift. instead of turning to anti anxiety or anti depression meds I run and reap the mental and emotional benefits from the release of feel good endorphins naturally. I meditate and think upon Gods Word and pray so I am exercising spiritually as well and focusing my mind because the pain of running requires mental focus. there are so many life lessons I have learned while running. definitely has been a part of feeling my best and looking my best is just a perk, a side dish to the main course which is feeling my best and not only surviving but thriving.
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