Watching those marathoners race by every year can inspire even those who have never run before to lace up their sneakers. But before you decide to hit the ground running, there are a few things you should know about what running does to a person’s body — good and bad.
We asked Dr. Jennifer Baima, a staff physiatrist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School to examine the sport.
Impact on muscles and joints
According to Dr. Baima, the impact running has on your muscles and joints depends on what kind of runner you are: “There are basically two types of runners,” she said. “Those that heel strike and those that mid-foot strike.”
Heel running is the more common way to run since padding in contemporary running shoes may encourage this type of gait. Recent studies have suggested this leads to increased forces at the knee joint. It is not yet known whether this leads to increased injury.