When people (that don’t run) tell me that running will hurt my knees I get so mad! Ya know what hurts your knees? Being FAT will hurt your knees! People are using it as an excuse to not exercise. I’ve even had someone tell me, I can’t run until I lose some weight. Excuses are like noses, everybody has one!!
According to a research presented by the American College of Rheumatology in Boston, MA, running may actually help protect your knees from developing osteoarthritis. Read all about it here Also new study of almost 75,000 runners finds that “this idea is a myth and distance running is unlikely to contribute to the development of arthritis, precisely and paradoxically because it involves so much running.” Read all about it here There are many studies that say the same thing! Because runners ask more from their knees, more of the body’s resources are directed to them. And, it keeps the WEIGHT DOWN!!
I’m assuming that this ‘old wives tale’ started with people going out and running with improper form, cheap shoes and no stretching! If you got into your first fender-bender while driving would you say, “Driving is TOO dangerous! I’m not going to drive in a car ever again.”? No you would not! You would figure out a way to not get in an accident again, while enjoying the benefits of driving in a car. The same goes with running!
Running Form – I learned proper running form at St. Pete Running Company’s Running Class. Basically you need to land on the ball of your foot when running. I tell myself toes, toes, toes. If you start out running in place, you automatically run on your toes. If you are just walking, you land on your heels. Also, don’t lean too forward from the hips. Keeping yourself fairly upright will also make it easier to land on your toes. I learned proper running form, and corrected myself so that I stop injuring my glutes (my butt). At SPRC they charge you $10 for the beginners running class, but you get a $10 coupon to use in the store!
Running Shoes – I also got tips on my running form, when I went to buy new running shoes (they’re NOT sneakers!). If you don’t live in the area, you could do a search online. Any good running store should be able to put you on a treadmill and evaluate your running. They will also be able to recommend the proper shoes for you. Running shoes will probably cost you at least $100, but that is the only thing you really NEED to buy to run. You gotta take care of your feet! Your local (support small business!) running store will be your best resource for all things running (and walking too).
Stretching & Strength – Personally, yoga has been a game-changer for me! Check out this video on Beginners Yoga for runners. The poses may look imitating at first. But just do what you can. You may not be able to hold the pose as long as the instructor, but stick with it! You have to start at the beginning. When I started yoga, it turned out the poses I hated the most, were the ones I needed the most! Make sure you are mimicking the position of the feet, hands and body as precisely as you can. (Are her toes point straight, or on an angle?) When upright, never ever extend your knee past your ankle – it puts too much pressure on the knees. Practice makes perfect. The more often you do it, the faster you will feel results. Try to do these at least 2 – 3 per week.
Even though I’ve been running for 3 years now, I still am learning. I’m not perfect. None of us are. Recently I’ve had pain on the outside of my right knee. It pretty much killed my first 15K (9.3 miles), at Ft. DeSoto Park. But I made sure I beat the ‘walkers’ LOL! After some research I’ve discovered that it’s IT syndrome (illiotibial band). And coincidently, that’s also connected to my glutes! So I’ll be doing extra strengthening exercises after I take a week off from running! (Yikes a whole week!!) You can read all about it at IT Band Exercises.
So don’t use “I’ll hurt my knees” as an excuse. You just gotta do it smart and that means doing it gradually. Consistency is VERY important. It is much better to run a half a mile (or less) 3 days a week, than it is to run a mile once a week. Most people have at least 2 days off a week, you need to schedule it! Make yourself a priority!
Hopefully I’m inspiring you to get off the couch! Let me know how you are doing and if you have any questions!
Please exercise caution and be mindful of your own body. These views are mine alone, based on my own experiences. Always consult a professional for additional guidance and assistance.