Bloomberg asked Dr. Joshua Scott to weigh in on benefits and risks of endurance running: “It basically depends.”
Article Link: Is Marathon Running Healthy or Unhealthy? – Bloomberg
This debate is one for the ages. As a sometimes half-marathon runner and marathon wannabe, I ask myself this question every February when the lottery for the New York City Marathon rolls around. But when I put the query to a doctor, I learned there are a lot factors that determine whether that 26.2 mile (42.2 kilometer) trek is good for you.
“With most things in medicine, we’d love to have a hard answer,” says Joshua Scott, an orthopedic surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute. But “it basically depends.”
One of the most frequent health concerns associated with marathon running is that it can cause arthritis. There’s some logic to that, given all the pavement pounding involved in the activity. Fortunately, there’s mounting evidence it doesn’t, Scott says.
One study last year looked at 24 other studies and found little proof that running does significant damage to the cartilage lining the knee joints. Another research paper, released in March, looked at marathon runners specifically, and found no increased risks to hips or knees. But that doesn’t mean marathons are risk free, Scott points out.
“If you’ve had prior knee or hip surgery, if you have overuse tendon injuries, then there is a dramatic increase in the likelihood that you’re going to have pain or problems,” he says.