By Daniel Carde
Running has multiple benefits, from building up the cardiovascular and respiratory systems’ endurance, to promoting bone density in the legs and releasing stress.
As the heart rate increases, it “builds up your lungs as well, and helps the whole respiratory system,” kinesiology Chair Brad Dudney said during an interview Sept. 10.
It relieves stress by releasing chemicals that help the body feel good, he said.
“It increases endorphins in the brain,” Dudney said.
According to www.medicinenet.com, endorphins are neurotransmitters that relieve stress and pain, and create feelings of euphoria.
Those benefits don’t come without risks, Dudney said.
Running long distances can be dangerous if not done properly.
Patella tendonitis, commonly known as runner’s knee, is a common problem that can develop from running long distances, he said.
“It’s where the patella and the tibia meet, and it gets inflamed,” he said.
Rest and anti-inflammatories usually makes the inflammation go away, but occasionally, ceasing to run is required to allow the tendon to heal accurately.
Tendonitis isn’t the only issue to protect against, Dudney said.
“When you start pushing out into that ultra distance, there are just safeguards that you have to take with your diet, your hydration and rest,” he said.
Staying hydrated is important, he said. A body cannot function well if it isn’t properly hydrated.
Running long distances shouldn’t be done strictly with water, he said.
“If they are just hydrating strictly with water, they can get what is called hyponatremia. Basically, it’s an imbalance in the blood, where you are drinking too much water and your electrolytes and your salt are out of balance,” Dudney said.
“It can create severe issues with your liver and kidneys, and they can shut down.
“You’re going to want sports drinks with electrolytes and salt,” Dudney said. “There should be a fuel plan.”
Dudney advised doing two runs in a day to cover further distances.
“That’s one way to get a longer distance in a day is to do a split run, one in the morning and one in the evening,” he said.
Every person should know their own body’s capabilities, he said. Beginning runners should start slow and not overexert themselves to avoid hurting their body.
“A general rule is you increase your mileage about 10 percent per week,” Dudney said.
For more information about running, call Dudney at 210-486-1017.