Monday, August 20, 2012

Hard on the Body

Yesterday during my run I overhead a couple of gals having a discussion about how much they love running. I wasn't trying to eavesdrop but as I was coming up from behind I could hear them for a long way and once I passed them their conversation switched (just to be clear, I wasn't able to hold a conversation at the pace I was going and they were talking non stop, which is why I was able to pass them) to how everyone tells them how hard running is on the body. Both of these gals agreed that they wouldn't give up running until their bodies gave up running. When I was out of ear shot of them my mind kept thinking about this statement. We are told all the time as runners that running is hard on our bodies. We are even told that it isn't natural.

How is running not natural? I'm not a scientist but I think being sedentary is not natural. Yes, people do get running injuries and yes sometimes joints do give out but go to any orthopedic surgery unit and see who is getting joint replacements. I haven't done a true study on this but I worked in this setting long enough to say that the majority of hip and knee replacements were on obese patients, not on runners. I personally know people who have never been runners who have bad knees, bad hips, bad backs and are hobbling around. I'm not saying that runners never hobble, of course they do I'm just saying that I don't think running is any harder on a body than living.

I have yet to see someone who's body doesn't start to break down as they age. There comes a point when you just aren't getting any younger. I have seen people who have had knee problems prior to running eliminate those so called problems when they become runners. I was one of these people. I had reconstructive knee surgery when I was 10 years old. I had what they referred to then as ruptured my knee capsule and everything that was suppose to anatomically under the patella was sitting out to the side. I was a figure skater and it was on my jumping leg. They 'fixed' it but I had troubles with it inconveniently dislocating at random times after that. I just had to have someone pull my leg straight and it would pop right back in. Surprisingly, once I started running regularly in my 20's this little inconvenience disappeared from my life. My knee has never been a problem since. Running seemed to provide some structural strength that I was  missing. I have had a few running injuries over the years but never has my knee been one of them.

My whole run yesterday I was thinking how I agree with the ladies I overheard. I love running and will keep doing it. I might be told it is hard on the body but it sure is easy on the mind. Our bodies are like cars, if we leave it sitting in the driveway and don't drive it, it will still rust and the engine will still need work. If my body is going to break down and age, I'd rather drive it there.

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