December 10-24Every person who takes up running has been confronted by a “helpful” critic who is more than happy to reel off the reasons running will ruin your life. Here’s a look at three questionable claims about running and health:

1. Running will give you a heart attack or other heart problems. It is true that exercise temporarily raises the odds of a heart attack while you’re mid-workout, but doing it consistently reduces that risk over the long haul, leading to a net benefit. Going for a run most days of the week is doing far more good than bad for your heart.

2. Running will ruin your bones and joints. A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found no evidence of accelerated rates of osteoarthritis among long-distance runners. Weight-bearing exercise like running helps stave off osteoporosis by maintaining bone mineral density.

3. Running will kill you before your time. According to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, running and other vigorous exercise in middle age is associated with a longer life. Not only that, it will make your later years more pleasant by reducing disability.

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