Running is a really great workout. It builds muscle, increases cardiovascular health, and can even help to improve your mood—no wonder it’s popular! Hence, we decided to take a look at some of the myths surrounding this popular form of exercise, from running is bad for the knees to drinking water while running will give you a stitch.
This is to see if there is any truth behind them. After all, why would people make that up, right? Well, while we can’t tell you why they are made up, or how they came about, we can debunk some of them for you. In this article, we address four popular myths in particular.
Is It Bad to Drink Water While Running?
When running, especially if you’re just starting out, you may experience cramping on your side, otherwise known as a stitch or side-stitch. Although a stitch is completely harmless, it can be pretty painful. Not only can it take the fun out of your run, but in some cases, cause you to have to stop too.
While drinking too much water before you run can be the cause of a stitch, drinking small amounts of water while running will not. Other possible causes for a stitch include running on a full stomach, weak abdominal muscles, bad posture, starting off too quickly, and improper breathing.
The importance of slowly building up your endurance comes in to play again here, as does not pushing your body too far. A stitch is a sure sign that your body is overwhelmed.
If you’re worried about drinking too much water while running, then remember that you should only ever take a sip when you are thirsty. Assuming that you are properly hydrated, to begin with, you shouldn’t need a drink of water on a run lasting around 20 minutes, unless it’s a really hot day.
Other Running Myths
Myth #1: Running is bad for your knees. (FALSE)
Generally speaking, running is not bad for your knees. If you are of a healthy weight, with healthy knees, then there's no reason that running would be bad for you. You are more likely to develop arthritis by not doing any exercise than you are if you are to do exercise, regardless of whether that includes running or not.
The key to running is to build up to it slowly so that you give your body time to get used to the impact and changes it is going through. For example, you may start with walking and jogging, and then build up your distances slowly. Listen to your body, and never run if you are suffering from any pain in your knees.
There are many factors that may affect the impact that running has on your knees, which can make it bad for business. Your weight and technique are just two of the factors that will affect the impact that running has on your knees, which is why it is very important to build up your endurance slowly and work on getting your technique right.
Running may also put too much strain on your knees if you have excessive pronators (the inside part of your foot drops inward more than it should while running), or hyperextending knees, in which case you should limit your runs to around one or two miles.
Also, if you have any pre-existing condition affecting your knees (including surgery or arthritis), then you should also consider other forms of exercise while keeping running to a minimum.
Myth #2: You Should Stretch Before You Run. (FALSE)
Okay, it sounds silly that you shouldn’t stretch before you run, but what you should actually be doing is warming up. Warming up is a little different than stretching as it involves more dynamic movements as opposed to static stretches. Try forward lunges, high kicks, jumping jacks, leg swings, knee lifts, and the likes.
After you have finished your run, now is the perfect time to stretch so that your body doesn’t seize up the next day.
Myth #3: You Should Drink Hydration Drinks. (FALSE)
Water is fine. Unless, of course, you’re a hardcore athlete and run for more than an hour at a time, then you don’t really need special hydration drinks. If it’s a really hot day, however, then a hydration drink wouldn’t go amiss as it will replace any salts lost through excessive sweating.
There seem to be old wive’s tales attached to almost every aspect of our lives these days. In fact, contrary to what we are led to believe, sitting too close to the TV won’t make you go blind, and white wine will not remove a red wine stain.
So, is it bad to drink water while running? No, it’s not. Although, you still have to remember to drink only when you’re thirsty. Everything in moderation, right?
The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re setting out to run is to ensure you are properly hydrated to begin with, but that doesn’t mean chugging a liter of water before leaving the house either.
Staying well hydrated at all times, building your endurance slowly, and listening to your body (along with not believing everything you hear) are the most important factors when it comes to developing good running habits.