Running is incredibly good for your health

Having missed an average of two days of work or school due to illness or injury, compared with four days for people in the general population, researchers have concluded that running, rather ultra runners are a lot healthier than the rest of us, according to a study was published in the journal PLoS One.

The study on running

To learn more about the health effects of this intense form of physical activity, researchers analyzed online questionnaires completed by more than 1 200 ultrarunners, who were asked about their training regimens, general health and running-related injuries during the previous 12 months. The investigators plan to follow this group of runners for 20 years.

Most of the ultrarunners’ health care visits (64%) were for exercise-related injuries. More than three-quarters of ultrarunners had an exercise-related injury in the previous year, and 65% lost at least one training day to injury. Like all runners, most of the injuries suffered by ultrarunners involved the knees and other parts of the legs and feet, the study found.

Injuries were more common among younger, less experienced runners.

“It’s a bit like drivers: Young drivers are at higher risk of car crashes than older people,” study author Dr Eswar Krishnan, a clinical epidemiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, said in a university news release. “Similarly, people who have recently started running are much more likely to suffer injuries than veteran ultramarathoners.”

While the runners reported higher than average rates of allergies and asthma compared to the general population, the scientists said this could be due to the drying of the airways during exercise and increased exposure to outdoor allergens. Perhaps not surprisingly, the ultrarunners had lower than average rates of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.