How Does Bone Health Impact Running?
A timeless sport to take part in is jogging, and this is because it is so easy to do. You can opt to do it in your local gym or you can choose to go on a regular run around where you live. You are also able to join clubs in your local area where jogging is carried out as a group social activity. Running outside has so many benefits on your body and mental health which is why so many people love it.
And as the weather is so nice outdoors this summer, we find more and more people experimenting with this form of exercise and falling in love with it. However, sometimes we don’t think about the effect this has on our bodies. Yes, it has a number of positive aspects, although there are quite a few things that can produce a negative effect. For example, if you have an ongoing medical condition it may not be ideal for you to take up this sport for your health.
This is why we have put this article together to inform you of how regular jogging can affect your bones and their density. Previously we have discussed the benefits and drawbacks this sport has on your heart and overall health, but now it’s time to delve a little deeper into the make-up of our bodies, and yes that means the skeleton. So let’s take a look at what running does to your bones and the reasons it is advised against in certain circumstances.
Regular Jogging Contributes to Healthier Bones
Overtime our joints and bones become weaker, and an excellent way to reduce the effects of aging on our body is to take part in regular exercises such as running. However, with each step you take, no matter how intense you are running, pressure is put on your body which in most cases enables them to strengthen. But if done improper or against the advice of a doctor you could really be putting a strain on your body which could be causing even more damage. This is because the stress of the heavy movements of jogging at any speed can cause your bones to subsequently bend or weaken.
When it comes to making your bones stronger long term, this is achieved down to the stress on your bones occurring from jogging or running regularly. These movements encourage the cells which cause bone to develop called osteoblasts, to migrate to the surface of the bones. This means that the current bones are covered in a layer of harder reinforced material which works hard to strengthen the status of the bones. Therefore, over time you will find the running distances easier as your bones get stronger and stronger thanks to this process.
However, on the flip side, running too much and too intensely can cause the mineral content of your bones to depreciate, which in turn adds a heavy risk to your health and could lead to sprains and sporting related injuries to your legs and hips.
Bone Density and How it Effects Your Ability to Run
Osteoporosis is one of the main medical conditions whereby if you wish to start running, you would need to consult your doctor first and they can advise you further. Osteoporosis in short means that your bones have a lower density compared to ‘healthy’ ones, which in turn means that they are much weaker and susceptible to fractures.
What causes this is the fact that Osteoblasts are much less apparent in your bone make-up compared to Osteoclusts which is where the cells only form in a select place instead of around the outside layer of your skeletal structure. Where there are lesser amounts of bone on your joints, means that these are the areas where you will find that they are much weaker. And as mentioned above, an intense exercise like running on weakened bones means that the risk of a sports related injury is dramatically higher.
Despite the fact that running improves your bone health overall by increasing the production of Osteoblasts, you would need to discuss this topic with a qualified medical professional. From there they will be able to give you a full assessment as to whether your bones could handle the exercise. And they can even suggest alternative sports that could reduce the impact on your body while still improving your overall health, in a safe approach to your bones.
However, if you are in the earlier stages of Osteoporosis called Osteopena there is a greater chance that you will be able to take up running easily without causing any harm to your body. By exercising at this stage in the condition to increase your bone density this will most certainly reduce your risk of fractures in later life depending on whether the condition progresses onto the more intense stage.
Bone density itself can be affected by a number of reasons and not just the medical condition mentioned above. A sedentary lifestyle where your bones aren’t working to their full capability means that they aren’t producing enough nutrients to build and strengthen our skeleton. Going hand in hand with this is a poor diet which not only will cause you to gain weight but would greatly affect your overall health and the strain on your bones due to weight and lack of nutrition. As a result of these two combined, the likelihood of you encountering an injury while jogging is rather high. So, you would need to assess your lifestyle greatly before taking up running as a sudden shock to your system after your low maintenance lifestyle would mean that you could end up really hurting yourself.
As well as these key areas above, people who are prescribed anti-inflammatories or blood thinners are also at risk of a low bone density. And as a result of this, you would also need to check with your doctor as to whether jogging is best suited for your requirements.
Overall Thoughts on the Relationship Between Bones and Jogging
Throughout this post we have explored the positives and negatives that running does for your bones. From strengthening to weakening, and the conditions whereby this activity is encouraged against, what are your thoughts on this sport? Have you experienced any jogging related injuries to your body and how did you overcome it? Find us over on our social media pages and let us know. We are happy to talk all things running and sports in general, so get in touch today!
Don’t forget to have a browse through our extensive range of running accessories and clothing over on our online store – Sports Fitness. Kit yourself out with all the latest essentials for jogging all in one place and discover a love for a new sport by checking out our variety of equipment now.
This article has been written exclusively for Sports Fitness by Loren Astbury