What about running and your knees–is it bad? An offshoot study of the famous Harvard Paffenberger study of cardiac disease and lifestyle was a study on knees. This study showed that running did not necessarily cause knee problems unless you already had a problem.
A moderate amount of running doesn′t cause problems if you don′t have an existing mechanical problem. We are genetically designed to be able to run to catch food, to evade our enemies, and to survive. In fact, our genes and bodies aren′t that radically different from those of early humans; however, because of various reasons (technology, for one), we have become out of shape and overweight and bring biomedically incorrect stress to our knees.
Runners may be categorized into four groups. The first group is comprised of those who are disabled and can′t or shouldn′t run as a mode of exercise. Running may put force on the knee that may cause or increase arthritis. The second group is made up of those who are temporarily disabled. Being overweight may be the problem. Exercise should be of minimal impact to start (swimming, biking, or using weights, for example), and it should progress to running very slowly. If you increase your exercise more than ten percent per week, you may develop knee pain. A sure-fire way to kill the desire to continue an exercise program is over-motivation and undertaking a program too vigorously too soon.
The third group of runners run a moderate amount–three to five times per week for twenty to forty minutes each time, or around three miles at each outing. I just do not see these people in my office with injuries. Fortunately, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends working out three to five times per week at two-thirds your maximum heart rate for thirty minutes. This is a sufficient workout and won′t hurt you
Six-time Ironman Triathlon Champion and Personal Trainer Mark Allen recommends calculating your maximum heart rate using these guidelines:
- Start with 180 and subtract your age
- Subtract another 10 if you never exercise, or
- Subtract another 5 if you are an occasional athlete, working out less than 3 days per week, or
- Leave the number alone for an athlete who has trained consistently 3-4 days per week for the last several years
- Add 5 beats if you are over 60 or under 20 years.
This is a section from Dr. Jack E, Jensen’s book The One Stop Knee Shop. Read the next section Walking.