Athletic activity is a great way to practice self care. Dedicated exercise time can be even more valuable when you're a parent because every minute of your day is dominated by to-do items, and working out is a great way to clear your brain. For some people, their preferred form of exercise is running. But how safe is it? If logging in a few miles is a major part of your regular routine, then the question of how running affects your body later in life might be a question that's on your mind.
From wearing on your joints to keeping your cardiovascular system in check, there are quite a few varying ways running can affect your body in the long term. As is the case with most things that involve physical activity, there's always a risk of injury or wear-and-tear to keep in mind. Though the lifestyle may come with its fair share of bumps and bruises, running can positively affect your mental health, too, from alleviating anxiety to improving your memory, reported Competitor Running. Still, running has its pros in cons when it comes to the various ways it affects the human body.
It's important to note that every body is different. Even if you're an identical twin, you're still unique — specifically in regards to the way your body handles movement. "There is a genetic component to whether or not you will have joint degeneration: I have seen a 70-year-old man who continually ran for exercise throughout his entire life with no issues," Dr. Karena Wu, a physical therapist and owner of ActiveCare Physical Therapy, tells Romper. "On the flip side, I have treated 30-something-year-olds who have major pain, joint issues, and dysfunction from running."
But what's the happy medium that will keep your body and morale in good stride for years to come? "The best chance of not having it affect you down the road is a well-rounded exercise program that unloads the joints and keeps the muscles stable around those joints," Wu recommends. Maybe your mom knew what she was talking about when she said everything is good in moderation.
If you are considering taking up a runner's lifestyle, or have been doing regular laps around the track for years, here are the long-term effects running can have on your body that are helpful to keep in mind.