Body processes

Running – Function, Task & Diseases

To run

Running is a human mode of locomotion that involves rapid forward movement of the feet while both feet are off the ground for a brief moment. Running is the oldest sport in the world.

what is running

The personal running style decides whether the feet hit the ground first with the heel , the middle or the forefoot. Regular running is practiced in leisure time or within the framework of athletics as an Olympic discipline. National and international competitions are held for precisely defined, different running disciplines. Common classic running disciplines include sprint, middle distance, long distance, marathon and hurdles. As a curiosity, walking in athletics is also classified as a running discipline.

Running is also a necessary part of many team sports such as football, handball or volleyball. This also applies to sports that require one or two opponents, such as singles or doubles tennis and badminton.

Casual running in leisure time is often referred to as jogging. In a cross-country run, the run takes place off the beaten track in open terrain. The adventure character sometimes plays a major role in this type of running if attractive sections of the landscape are crossed. In the so-called mountain run, large differences in altitude have to be overcome.

function & task

When running, over 60 percent of the muscles are activated. With every step, the muscles and joints of the legs are particularly stressed, as they have to withstand several times the body weight when they come into contact with the ground. 

Regular running movement tightens and strengthens muscles, tendons and bones , thereby increasing resistance and performance. Frequent running promotes the proliferation of the finest vessels in the stressed areas of the body that have a higher blood flow. The supply and functionality of vital organs , muscles and skin are protected and improved. A quick way of moving by running also enables people to react better in dangerous situations. The fact that longer distances can be covered at a run increases human mobility.

The load on the feet varies depending on the running style and appearance. The first contact with the ball of the foot puts a lot of strain on the Achilles and [[plantar tendons]. When stepping on the heel, the physical forces primarily act on the heel and the knee . Due to the additional load on the intervertebral disc , suitable running shoes have a positive effect that is gentle on them.

Due to the constant alternation between pressure and relief, the cartilage tissue receives additional nutrients to build up. The micro-cracks caused by the impact of running lead to a denser and more stable bone substance through the regeneration process.

Thorough, individual preparation should take place before you start running in order to ensure the positive effects of running. This includes selecting the right running shoes using a treadmill analysis. With the help of a functional movement analysis, further valuable conclusions can be drawn.

When running, the running style, posture and breathing technique are also of interest for the best possible running. Age and personal health and training status should be taken into account appropriately. A medical fitness test can also make sense. Beginners in particular should start moderately and not push themselves to the limit. Pulse and blood pressure measurements can serve as important guides.

Regular, appropriate running training, especially outdoors, strengthens the heart muscle . It prevents tissue weaknesses in the blood vessels and increases oxygen uptake and blood flow in the lungs . In addition, the leg muscles and the physical condition are strengthened.

In addition, the metabolism is stimulated and the immune system strengthened. Especially if you run regularly in the aerobic range (energy conversion through oxygen), the intensified burning of fat leads to a reduction in weight after about 30 minutes. The prerequisite for this, however, is that the benefits of running are not offset by a counterproductive diet . When running, the carbohydrate store is primarily used in the first half hour to provide energy.

Running is also effective for blood quality and blood pressure , thereby regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels . Continuous running is also beneficial for well-being and the soul by activating endorphins (the body’s own morphine) such as the messenger substance serotonin , which is also known as the happiness hormone. Sunlight can also contribute to well-being while running. Therefore, running can also counteract depression .

Running promotes physical and mental health , is inexpensive and easy to do. As a balance to everyday life and an experience of nature, running is also considered to be varied. Running in groups of like-minded people can also promote social contacts. Regular running is helpful for performance and can help reduce existing aggression . It can also lead to greater self-confidence .

Running offers a great opportunity for the widespread desire to lose weight. Regular running training should ensure periods of sufficient regeneration so as not to impair the beneficial effects of running.

Diseases & Ailments

Choosing the wrong running shoes can cause problems. For example, poor cushioning properties in running shoes, especially on hard surfaces such as concrete, stone or tar, can lead to painful impairment of the joints, ligaments , muscles and vertebrae . The knee in particular is often affected by painful effects. In the long run, the wrong running shoes and running technique also cause intervertebral discs and hips to suffer from excessive impact loads.

Insufficient recovery time between runs, overexertion from running, or poor diet can lead to overuse symptoms. Climatic stimuli or diseases can also be responsible for this. This overload can manifest itself as a drop in performance, reduced resilience, rapid fatigue and discomfort. Especially after a long absence from training, overzealousness at the beginning of a running training session can threaten to overwhelm you.

If you run too fast, the energy supply does not take place with oxygen , but with lactic acid . However , muscle soreness does not occur due to the lactic acid formed. Rather, it occurs with a time delay when the muscle tissue is overloaded (especially by beginners). This creates the smallest tears in the muscle fibers and blood vessels, which present themselves as painful inflammation and swelling . This results in a limitation of extensibility for a certain period of time.

Foot deformities that are not corrected or a problematic walking style can be the reason for painful foot problems such as heel spurs . However, the effects can also affect the knees and spine. Running problems can also occur in the form of irritation of the Achilles tendon, side stitches and strains as well as cramps and ligament strains .

Overloading while running can also pose a risk to the heart . Especially with already existing diseases in this area, overweight and in high heat there is the possibility of dangerous circulatory problems . Therefore, as a preventative measure, the carbohydrate stores should be filled up as much as possible before running.

In the case of some complaints or conditions, it is advisable to forego a run:

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.