Why you need to start running in 2017

Since 2017 came barreling in like the proverbial wrecking ball, the early January excitement in the fitness industry has not disappointed.

My wife and I went to our local fitness facility and the staff joked with me about how I picked the wrong day to come in because of how busy it was. After we exchanged a few below average jokes, we made it into the cardio area and had to go to the back of the facility to snatch THAT treadmill that squeaks and the display barely works (you know which one I’m talking about). After finishing my slice of humble pie and completing my run at the treadmill it got me thinking about running. How many people love it, hate it, hate it but love it, hate that they love it, ect. But so many people do it.

Running is regarded as one of the most optimal ways to exercise because of its simplicity, convenience, and its reputation as an outstanding method of burning calories to achieve great results.

But why should I start running?…

As I’m assuming you can relate, I’ve heard just about every opinion about running. How it’s great, how it’s bad for your knees, how it has saved someones life, how it doesn’t get you the same results that it gets Steve down the street who runs 2 businesses, has 4 kids, and still looks like he’s in his late 20’s.


So let’s all take a moment and take a closer look at 3 ways that running benefits your body so you can make your own decision if it is the right type of exercise for you.


Running can have multiple benefits on the cardiovascular system that result in improving your endurance and ultimate heart health. Specifically, aerobic exercise can improve blood pressure, cardiac output, oxygen utilization, and heart rate levels.

Simply put, it can enhance your hearts ability to circulate blood in an efficient manner while taking stress off of your arteries and veins and allowing your muscles to receive more oxygen.

It has been proposed that running can produce these effects by altering concentrations of neurotransmitters in your body.

3 Quick Clinical Takeaways:

  1. Aerobic Exercise (continuous running) has been demonstrated to contribute to lowering blood pressure in those who have borderline hypertension.
  2. In patients with Type II Diabetes, aerobic exercise was shown to produce decreases in elevated blood pressure.
  3. In individuals who are overweight, exercise produced a decrease in fasting glucose levels, diastolic blood pressure, and triglyceride concentration.

Bone Health

Contrary to popular belief, the forces from running on knees, hips, and ankles, do not damage your bones. It is actually what your body uses to improve your bone health.


There are two specific types of cells in the body that regulate when it is appropriate to increase bone density. When we put healthy load through our joints this process is actually facilitated allowing our bones to adapt to the force and get stronger.

A good way to verify this principle is to take a look at a population that puts a lot of force through their body and see the long-term effects. A study confirmed that after examining 38 marathon runners (lots of force through the years), only 2 showed signs of osteoarthritis later in life. If force through the joints caused damage, it would most definitely show more consistent results than 2/38.

“Osteoarthritis of the knee-joint is rare in former elite marathon runners. The risk of osteoarthritis of the hip-joint seems to be higher than in control subjects who do not engage in much sport.”

This is an example of how increased bone health can be seen retrospectively. Fortunately, this principle can be reversed and used to our advantage through exercise programming to increase Bone density preventing the onset of osteoporosis in the future. Research has shown that bone density can be increased until the age of 30. This is known as building your Bone Bank. After the age of 30 your bone bank can no longer be improved, it can only be maintained.

How can I be proactive about my bone health before the age of 30?

“Loading affects bone mass, microarchitecture, and size throughout life. Loading is therefore important for the maintenance of bone strength during normal aging–and exercise plays an important role in the prevention of osteoporotic fractures.”

While running has positive effects on bone health, there are activities that can increase bone mineral density more than running does such as weight lifting, basketball, volleyball, and jump roping. These activities place a higher amount of force through your bones then running does, therefore stimulating a higher amount of improvement in bone density.

Calorie Burn

Given that it is the New Year and most people are looking to drop a few pounds let’s touch on how effective running is for burning calories to effect weight loss.

Running is a form of aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise when performed at a low to moderate level is known as the optimal training method for deriving energy (ATP) from the lipid (fat) concentration in your body. Unlike Carbohydrates, Fat is only mobilized for energy use when it is in the presence of oxygen. Training at low-moderate levels of aerobic exercise creates this environment to produce fat utilization to ultimately yield calorie burning.

Basically, running is a great way to burn calories that come from fat.

How many calories does running burn compared to other physical activities?

Approximate calories used (burned) by a 154-pound man
MODERATE physical activities:
In 1 hour
In 30 minutes
Light gardening/ yard work
Golf (walking and carrying clubs)
Bicycling (less than 10 mph)
Walking (3.5 mph)
Weight training (general light workout)
VIGOROUS physical activities:
In 1 hour
In 30 minutes
Running/ jogging (5 mph)
Bicycling (more than 10 mph)
Swimming (slow freestyle laps)
Walking (4.5 mph)
Heavy yard work (chopping wood)
Weight lifting (vigorous effort)
Basketball (vigorous)

*Check out the evidence page on Rehab in Motion for specific research topics*

Why shouldn’t I start running?

Before starting a running routine it is important to ensure that you are safe to exercise! Answer the 7 questions below and follow the subsequent questions to determine if you are cleared to start exercising today.


Summary – We talked about how:
  1. Running is excellent for:
    • Cardiovascular health
    • Bone heath
    • Calorie burning
  2. Seek Physician Guidance if you have:
    • Heart complications
    • Chest pain
    • Dizziness
    • Been taking heart/bp medication
  3. Seek Physical Therapy guidance if you have:
    • A known existing injury that is preventing you from running
    • Pain during running that you want gone!

Next Steps

Do you want to put running into your exercise program but are unsure how much or how often? Do you have additional questions about whether you should be running or not? Leave a comment below!

Want to jump start your fitness journey today? Check out the online training options on Rehab In Motion!

1 Month Online Fitness Package               1 Month Fitness & Nutrition Package


  • Foss ML, Keteyian SJ, Fox EL. Fox’s physiological basis for exercise and sport. 6th ed. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Education (ISE Editions); August 1, 1998.
  • HOW MANY CALORIES DOES PHYSICAL ACTIVITY USE (BURN)? ChooseMyPlate.gov. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/physical-activity-calories-burn. Accessed January 7, 2017.
  • Shaw KA, Gennat HC, O’Rourke P, Del Mar C. Exercise for overweight or obesity. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD003817. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003817.pub3

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s