We've heard all our lives that running is bad for the spine, that people started to feel back pain after starting to run, and even people who were banned from running because they have a back injury.
But recent studies show that running regularly can be good for your spine. A study published by NATURE* magazine in 2017 showed that running can bring numerous benefits to the spine, more precisely, to the intervertebral disc, improving its hydration, making it “stronger”.
The study evaluated sedentary people and people who run with a certain frequency. The result showed that the group of runners presented the benefits mentioned above for the intervertebral disc, providing a healthier spine. This allowed us to conclude that running can generate less risk for the spine than not running.
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Good posture, a strong and mobile body are other factors that will protect your spine while running. It’s important to maintain good overall fitness to be at less risk of injury.
It's good to make it clear that, in a period of crisis followed by acute back pain, the ideal is to stop running, treat the injury and prepare yourself properly to start running again in a safe and gradual way. So, if you are going to choose between staying still at home or leaving home to run or do any other physical activity, always choose physical activity, as you will have many benefits.
It's important to let go of beliefs, seek evidence-based information, prepare properly, run and be happy!
Mário Bernardino, Physiotherapist
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