BY GABRIEL ISAAC OTUK
Various studies indicate that running for 15 minutes per day can increase one’s lifespan.
According to a review research published by Mayo Clinic, running six miles per week improves one’s longevity by three to six years. It also improves weight management, and lowers blood pressure.
Running also lowers individuals’ risk to certain forms of cancer such as prostate and colon cancer.
Contrary to popular belief, running is associated with lower rates of joint diseases (osteoarthritis), and it often reduces the chances of people needing hip replacements because it increases bone mineral density making them strong and resistant to effects of wear and tear.
Stanford University conducted research among people who run, and the research showed that the older the runners get, the greater their advantage compared to non-runners of the same age
This implies that running does not cripple the musculoskeletal system but instead makes it stronger.
However, running as a sport exposes people to certain injuries, and these should be managed well to ensure good health and muscle strength.
Managing muscle injuries during exercise
Most runners experience muscle injuries in their life time. It is the major muscles like the hamstrings and quadriceps that are mostly affected. Below are ways in which one can handle muscle injuries:
- If bleeding occurs due to a torn blood vessel, administer first aid by applying pressure to the site using gauze, cotton or any clean cloth material. When compressing an injured site, do not remove the gauze in case it is soaked with blood, but simply add another piece of clean material. This prevents the risk of opening up the wound to more bleeding.
- After administering first aid, seek professional medical assistance.
- Rest the strained muscle. Avoid any painful activity that can cause strain.
- Apply ice packs to the strained muscle, to relieve signs of inflammation like pain, swelling and loss of function. Small ice packs are available in supermarkets. Avoid applying ice or heat to bare skin.
- The affected area can also be compressed gently with an elastic bandage to provide support and decrease swelling.
- Elevate the injured area to decrease swelling by enabling blood to flow back to the heart by gravity. λThe health service providers may prescribe medicine to reduce pain and inflammation.
Gabriel Isaac Otuk is an orthopaedic surgeon and a consultant with the UCU sports department