Running is an increasingly a popular form of exercise, but how much do you know about it?
Myth 1: Running causes joint pain
Joint pain, or arthritis, is not caused by running per se. Experts say that some people are simply genetically inclined to develop arthritis, and will develop it whether they run or not. In fact, running may help keep arthritis patients’ active in their later years.
Apart from genetics, another factor that may joint pain is running form and weight. Improper running form or an unhealthy body weight may result in unnecessary pressure on the knee, causing it to hurt when running. However, experts say that running itself is not a dangerous exercise and with the right training, even those who are overweight can safely run without developing joint pain.
Myth 2: You should stretch before running
A Brazilian study found that static stretching before a run was not beneficial to a runner’s performance, Runner’s World reported. Static stretches are the kind “where you hold a position at the edge of your range of motion for, say, 15 to 60 seconds, as opposed to bouncing around in “dynamic” stretches”. Given that many people are accustomed to static stretching before running or other forms of exercise, the results of this study were surprising.
The study monitored the performance of 11 recreational runners in a series of tests (on different days), and compared their performance with and without stretching. The results concluded that static stretching led to “a reduced capacity of the skeletal muscle to produce explosive force”, resulting in a slower starting speed during a race.
Myth 3: You need to hydrate with sports drinks
Not all runs require you to have a sports drink in hand. Sports drinks are useful for replenishing carbohydrates and electrolytes, but experts say that for runs under half an hour, there is no need for a sports drink.
In addition, there is a rise of endurance sports drinks, an upgraded version of the regular sports drink, with more electrolytes included. You may think that more is better, but that isn’t the case. These endurance sports drinks should only be drank for runs that last more than about three hours- anything less than that does not warrant the need for endurance drinks.