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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Running is Good for You?

Singapore's No 1 runner, Mr Mox Ying Ren wrote this article for the Straits Times some time ago. For a clearer version of the article, read in in his blog here.

To summarise, running can be done anytime, anywhere, is cheap, can be done alone and is directly related to the effort you put in without needing to rely on somebody else, and has health benefits. These are all rather common sense isn't it?

But surprisingly, a few days later, somebody wrote to the ST Premium to rebut that. And surprisingly, it came from a doctor who should have know better!

So are they talking about the same thing? And who is talking crap? The doctor wannabe or the qualified doctor? The pro runner or the social runner? And who is right or wrong?


  1. My opinion would be that despite running being an increasingly popular (albeit a 'glamours' one due the fact you get a cool tshirt, a photo finisher, and a medal), many locals do not fully appreciate or understand that running by itself, is very technical and strategic, and it involves a lot of knowledge into the detail that makes the sport so profound.

    I do not fault the doctor in ST for commenting that runners 'suffer more physical damanage' than other forms of sports, due to the nature of running itself as being very impactful, nevertheless, he fails to mention that everyone is biomechanically different, and many factors in the body contribute to injuries, such as running posture, shoe type, stride, and even physical strength.

    It's easy to blame running as the cause of injuries, but it's much more than that. Diet and lifestyle also part and parcel of the change that happens to our bodies, and sadly the Singaporean lifestyle of being pampered with food and luxuries have had quite a detrimental effect on our bodies.

    There have been many a times I have lectured to friends that running, isn't as simple as going to shop, picking a shoe, and going for a run. It's much more. And many think running is a quick fix to problems such as weight gain, or even a leaner body.

    A recent article regarding the overuse of MRI also suggests that many people seem to have been mis-diagonosed and have been operated for injuries which may have not been necessary:

    Just my two cents from a soon to be sports science student :)

  2. While I'm inclined to agree with Azlan, I have a slightly different view on this issue; I see it from a holistic point of view.

    I see the human body as a machine which is constantly working to achieve an optimal balance, may it be blood sugar level, water and electrolytes etc. If there is too much of something, the body will try to adjust to bring down the level of that something.

    In a similar way, I think it's not realistic to want to do sports and expect to be totally free from wear and tear. I'd like to balance between the benefits I can get from doing the sports against the negative effects, i.e. injuries etc. So yes, I do get injuries when I run, e.g. knees and ankles, but when I take into account the benefits I get from running, I still consider the overall result as something positive. Hence running is good for me.

    I can, of course, do other "less damaging" sports, e.g. swimming, but although I might escape the knee injuries while achieving the same aerobics benefits, I do not enjoy swimming! How lah?

    We cannot have it all. It's always about balancing between the pros and cons. And when looking at running from this angle, I think I can live with the negative aspects of it, because the enjoyment I derive from the sports, plus the health benefits to my body etc can more than overwhelm those negative aspects.

  3. Thanks Azlan and Cornelius for yr comments.
    By all account, running is definitely not good for me. In my short 6 years since I took up running, I have had a torn meniscus, a stress fracture of the shin and another of the metatarsal, 3 ankle sprains and countless other minor scraps. So why am I still running? Hmmmm maybe I save the answer for another day when I attain running enlightenment:)

  4. imho, is running even considered strenuous exercise if done at easy pace level?

    competitive running is entirely different beast, which needless to say, it indeed strenuous!

    I think both approach topic from different perspective, so both are right in their respective viewpoints :P