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Marta’s article concerning running’s ability to make us look younger stirred up some controversy a couple weeks back. People argued that running actually had the opposite effect, making people look far older than they actually are, which had us scratching our heads. Could it be true? The simple answer is yes and no.
There seemed to be two arguments against running, one discussing a runners body and the other about a runners face, first, we’ll cover the body. Female runners deal with one thing that male runners do not- worrying about their breast. The constant pounding of feet against pavement can stretch out the ligaments that hold up the breast. To combat this directly, female runners often wear sports bras that squeeze their breast towards their chest. Problem solved, moving on.
Another major subject that everyone seems to be talking about is skeletal issues: a problem hip, knees going bad, foot issues. But just because someone you know has had bone issues due to running doesn’t mean that everyone who runs has to deal with the same issues. Running will not speed up damage to your knees, but it will aggravate old injuries related to your lower half. I broke my ankle back in high school so running is like Russian roulette for me, a lot of the time it doesn’t bother me but sometimes it does.
All of our bodies (both inside and out) are made up differently; we all eat different things (some people get more calcium and vitamin D which is food for bones) and workout in different ways. You should never compare yourself to someone else’s body and write something off. And contrary to popular belief, running will actually help strengthen your bones according to a study from The University of Missouri. “The results of the study confirm that both resistance training and high-impact endurance activities increase bone mineral density. However, high-impact sports, like running, appear to have a greater beneficial effect,” said Pam Hinton, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences.
Also, keep in mind that the article was called “Running will make you look younger.” I think people are confusing running with long-distance running. When I go for a run, I’m just putting in a few miles, I’m not outside for 10+ miles and I’m definitely not outside in the sun, I opt for night runs because it’s cooler and I don’t have to stop for sunscreen.
The facial area seemed to be the second big concern. This is somewhat true, elements like wind and sun will certainly do some damage to your face. Also, in theory the constant pounding on concrete will cause your skin to sag. Runners also have less body fat and according to a Times article, in a study with twins- as a pair of twins reach the 40+ age area, the one with more fat tended to look younger, which makes sense to a degree. With a plumper face, you’ll fill out fine lines and wrinkles. This is called “volume replacement.”