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Running (cont.)

Introduction to Running

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines running as "to go faster than a walk; specifically: to go steadily by springing steps so that both feet leave the ground for an instant." The key is that both feet are in the air at the same time. By comparison, one foot is always in contact with the ground when you walk. Running is less efficient than walking, as mentioned earlier, precisely because you must propel your body weight through the air.

Jogging vs. Running

The movement is similar; running is just faster.

Benefits of Jogging and Running

Patient Comments

Jogging and running are aerobic exercises (activities that elevate your heart rate for sustained periods of time), and so that means they have lots of health benefits. Research proves that aerobic exercise can:

  • decrease your risk of heart disease,
  • decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes,
  • help control blood pressure,
  • strengthen your bones,
  • strengthen your muscles,
  • increase your stamina,
  • improve your mood,
  • decrease symptoms of depression,
  • decrease your risk of certain cancers (breast and colon), and
  • reduce the risk of dementia.

Which Muscles Do I Use for Running?

Running uses the muscles in the thighs (quadriceps), the backs of the legs (hamstrings), calves, hips, low back, and buttocks, and the upper body cannot be ignored since you use your torso (back and abdominal muscles) as well as your arms and shoulders to help you stabilize, balance, and move forward. Here are a few tips for running-based muscle building.

  1. Run up and down hills to focus on tightening and toning your thighs and buttocks.
  2. Doing speed work or intervals (where you sprint for a few minutes at high speeds and then recover at a slower pace) is comparable to leg exercises in the gym (leg press, leg extension, etc.), so you can skip your leg work on the days that you do these workouts.
  3. Run backward if you want to work your ankles, lower back, and thighs (hamstrings and quadriceps) and improve your balance.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2014

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Running:

Running - Patient Experience

What benefits have you received for running and jogging?

Running - Risks of Running

Have you experienced injuries from running? What were they?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Therapeutic Exercise »

DeLateur defined therapeutic exercise as the prescription of bodily movement to correct an impairment, improve musculoskeletal function, or maintain a state of well-being

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