Running: Bad for Your Health?

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Are You Running Yourself into the Grave?

Pretty regularly here at the ‘House, we get a laugh from the absurd Debbie-Downer-ness of many stories on The Weather Channel’s website ( All too often, they focus on daily scares, dystopias, and doomsday scenarios that clearly have nothing to do with the weather, but apparently are enough to get people in a tizzy and keep coming back for more.

Yesterday we saw an article on 13 Healthy Habits That Can Hurt. For every runner who’s ever been injured (i.e., pretty much every runner), it should come as no surprise that running made their list, along with some pretty questionable inclusions like “drinking water” and “healthy eating.” (Seriously, people, when will you learn that 24-7 beer and Fritos is the way to go??)

So what’s the big deal with running? “Athletes can become addicted to exercise, and run through pain when they shouldn’t,” says James E. Muntz, MD in the article. And even if you aren’t an exercise addict, the article continues, runners are still at risk of heart problems, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal.

Well, duh, folks. Yes, exercise addiction is a real thing and a small minority of runners with this affliction may be harming themselves. And yes, you could cause yourself some serious cardiovascular problems if you’re continually overexerting when you run. We have no problem in calling running a “healthy habit that can hurt” sometimes, because we’ve pretty much all worked through the aches, pains, pulls, strains, tears and other discomforts that find their way into the lives of runners. But in our opinion (and of course we may be a little biased here), running is an enormous positive in the physical and emotional health of those who engage in the sport.

What do you think? Is running harming many people, and what does that mean in relation to the millions of people who feel that their lives are better because they are runners?

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