A new study shows great results for those runners who intend to keep running late into their lives. The study, which was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, tested runners with no history of knee problems to see if there was a difference between running and walking in terms of the pounding on the knees. The results of this study were discussed in this article from the New York Times which was published on September 25.
The study showed that running does not put any more wear and tear on the knees than does walking. Part of the reason may be in the fact that people run with longer strides than when they walk, so their feet hit the ground fewer times. Another part of the reason comes from earlier studies which suggest that cartilage in the knees actually likes “cyclical loading,” meaning a force applied to the joint, removed and applied again.
The best news from this study is the fact that running does not cause arthritis in the knees, which has long been a fear of runners. However, the results do not prove that running could prevent arthritis in the knees or address other injuries that are common among runners, including patellofemoral pain syndrome, or “runner’s knee.”
Exercise is a key to health at all ages in life. Running is a great way to get and stay in shape and should not be discouraged for anyone on the basis of age. Anyone with previous injuries to the knees should be careful, as arthritis is common among those later in life. For example, it is common for individuals who had ACL tears at some point in their lives to get arthritis in the knees.