Running And Cartilage – Is It A Love Story?

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You must have been told by many that running is not good and must be reduced with age as it leads to arthritis. But the truth is different than what you have heard till now. Running actually helps strengthen your joints and cartilage against wear and tear. It is not something that causes arthritis. However, in an existing case, one has to adopt running more technically.

Examination Of Cartilage

Medical science studied the effect of running on cartilage by carrying out MRI immediately after running and then after a gap of a few hours. It was found that running reduces the thickness of the cartilage. This is because of the loss of fluid from the cartilage to the underlying bone. However, after a rest period of just a few hours, the cartilage re-absorbed the fluid and expanded to normal thickness. In fact, the fluid which came back had high nutrients leading to healthy cartilage.

Another factor that was observed was the adaptability of the cartilage. As a runner increases the intensity of training both in terms of speed and endurance, cartilage responds to training extremely well. For novice runners, the effect of the adoption of training is visible in just 10 weeks.  

Running For Arthritis Patients

Unfortunately, there is very little study that has gone into the effect of running on existing arthritis. Hence for such runners or people who want to start running late in their lives, it is important to listen to your body calls. If it hurts, adjust recovery time accordingly.

“If It Hurts?”

We scale our pain from 0 to 10 scale, and while running if the pain stays up to a level of 3 at the maximum, one can try to run. Remember to run easy and to make it as much painless as possible. If all is okay, you can bump up against one tiny slot in terms of your intensity. See the outcome and then progress with caution. Remember, in these cases, it is important to adjust the recovery period by rest or extremely light activity. So if your body says “not today!” listen to it.

Strength Training

Strength training works on muscle groups supporting bones and thereby reducing trauma on cartilages. One needs to find the training which helps increase range of motion and strength, both maintain the core ability of cartilage in terms of strength and flexibility. Hence no matter what state you are in! Make sure that you allow your cartilage to adopt and then move on. If this is adopted, you will create a love story between running and cartilage.

Article by: Capt Jitu Harjai Fitness Expert H2F Care

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