Jogging as a health hazard?

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Two thirds of joggers risk their health through incorrect training

Jogging can cause significant health problems. According to a study by the AOK, two thirds of all joggers endanger their health from running instead of benefiting from it. Exhaustion, fatigue and fatigue are the main causes of overexertion. Muscular problems and cardiovascular problems are at risk.

Especially when one's own physical limits are exceeded when jogging and massive exhaustion occurs after leisure sports, an unfavorable running profile with negative health consequences can be assumed, explained Professor Henning Allmer from the Cologne Institute for Applied Health Sciences. On behalf of the AOK, Allmer has developed a test that enables joggers to easily check their own running behavior from a health perspective.

Jogging harmful to health - two thirds of joggers go wrong More than 10,000 people took part in the AOK test developed by Prof. Allmer between December 2006 and November 2010. Anyone interested could carry out the run type test online on the AOK homepage. When evaluating the anonymously collected data, Prof. Allmer found that a frightening number of people in Germany are more likely to impair their health from running than to benefit from it. Based on the test results, the expert assigned the test subjects to three different running profile categories. Joggers with a favorable running profile, who immediately take a break when there are negative signals from the body, such as an increased pulse or muscle cramps, and who develop a physical well-being after running. According to Prof. Allmer, the health benefits of jogging predominate here. In contrast to this first category, the joggers have an unfavorable running profile, which emphasize the effort and performance aspect while running and regularly exceed physical limits. After jogging, they are dominated by fatigue and, according to Prof. Allmer, adverse effects on health can be assumed. Between the unfavorable and favorable running profile is the category of the critical running profile, in which the joggers do not do everything wrong, but negative health effects can nevertheless occur. According to the study by the AOK Federal Association, only a third of the respondents can be assigned to the category with a favorable, health-promoting running profile (32 percent), 36 percent of joggers have a critical running profile and 32 percent can be assigned to the category with an unfavorable, health-damaging running profile .

Overexertion while jogging causes health risks The running study carried out on behalf of the AOK Federal Association comes to the conclusion that the exaggerated performance aspect of jogging, in particular, negates the supposed advantages of physical activity. Possible health impairments of jogging have already been discussed several times, although the main focus was on damage to the joints in the case of incorrect footwear and running surfaces. The fact that running is otherwise positive for health always seemed to be out of the question. But the current AOK study suggests the opposite. Overexertion means that two thirds of recreational runners are exposed to a health risk that should not be underestimated. "If you regularly overwhelm yourself while running and do not listen to the body's signals, you have to expect permanent fatigue, tiredness and exhaustion", whereby, "in the end (...) even muscular complaints and cardiovascular problems can occur", Prof. Allmer emphasized when presenting the study results.

Health benefits with correct running behavior According to the AOK study, joggers should take special care during their training not to exceed the limits of their performance. Leisure runners are advised to take a short break as soon as physical reactions such as muscle cramps, side stitches or a significantly increased pulse occur. Those who stick to it can benefit significantly from physical activity. Jogging is assumed not only to have a positive effect on the body (e.g. cardiovascular system) but also on the psyche (coping with stress). (fp)

Read about jogging & health:
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Image: Thomas Siepmann /

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