If you have avoided becoming a runner because you were worried that the constant pounding on your joints might cause you problems later, well, you may not have anything to worry about. An analysis of 17 studies involving nearly 115,000 people should put your mind at ease. The findings suggest that recreational running may actually be good for your hips and knees. [1]

A team of international researchers from Spain, Sweden, Canada, and the United States analyzed the studies to learn more about the relationship between running and hip and knee osteoarthritis. They discovered that only 3.5% of both male and female recreational runners developed arthritis in their knees or hips, compared to 10.2% of those who were sedentary or didn’t run for exercise and to 13.3% of competitive runners.

Source: Pennsylvania State University

Runners were considered competitive if they referred to themselves as professional/elite athletes or participated in international competitions.

Running recreationally for 15 years or longer was shown to benefit knee and hip joint health.

Read: Brief, Low-Paced Running Can Add Years to Your Life

Dr. Eduard Alentorn-Geli, of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said:

“The principle finding in this study is that, in general, running is not associated with osteoarthritis. The novel finding in our investigation is the increased association between running and arthritis in competitive, but not in recreational, runners.” [1]

The findings build on those of previous studies showing that concerns over running-related joint damage are overblown. According to a 2016 Brigham Young University study, running for 30 minutes is associated with reduced inflammatory markers around the knee joint. [2]

The authors wrote:

“Running at a recreational level can be safely recommended as a general health exercise, with the evidence suggesting that it has benefits for hip and knee joint health.” [2]

The researchers did note, however, that they were unable to determine the amount of running that is safe for weight-bearing joints, so their findings should be “interpreted with caution” due to their inability to factor in obesity and previous injury.

Bottom line? Unless you’re a regular marathon-runner or you plan on trying out for the Olympics, running is just fine for your knees and hips.

Sources:

[1] UPI

[2] Health

Pennsylvania State University


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About Julie Fidler:
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Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.