Run streaks are all the rage – but is it safe to run every day?

Three women running

Running is a popular – and often competitive – hobby (Picture: Getty)

Running is a great form of exercise that has numerous benefits for our health.

For instance, people who consistently run at least an hour a week throughout their lives tend to live three years longer and have fewer chronic illnesses, compared with people who don’t do any exercise.

But some people are taking their love of running up a notch – running every day for as many days in a row as possible. This trend is being referred to online as a ‘run streak’. The rules of the run streak trend are simple: runners must complete a minimum of one mile (1.6km) every day, either on road, trail or the treadmill.

There are some remarkable streaks currently ongoing. Jim Taylor is said to have the longest streak among runners in Britain, having completed at least a mile a day for over 30 years. Globally, the longest streak is held by Jon Sutherland, a US runner who has reportedly run at least mile a day for over 50 years.

These are certainly incredible feats – but what are the effects on the body of running every day? Is it actually safe?

Whether you’re an amateur or professional runner, in order to get fitter you need to follow a training regime that places just the right amount of stress on the body so it can adapt. This is usually done through low-intensity runs and interval training, followed by periods of rest.

People around the world take on the challenge of a running streak (Picture: Getty)

When this cycle is consistently repeated over months, runners will notice many changes in their fitness. These include a 5%-10% improvement in maximal oxygen consumption (the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use and transport to its working muscles), reduced heart rate during low-intensity runs, and improved ability to use fat for energy. All of these improvements help runners get faster or run further with less fatigue.

But a key element to becoming a better runner is taking rest periods. This allows the joints and ligaments to recover from the stress that running places on them. Rest also permits the body to replenish carbohydrate stores in the muscles, ensuring the body has energy for subsequent training days. Rest days can also help improve a runner’s recovery time between workouts.

But the nature of the run streak trend means there are no days off. This could have many potential pitfalls that runners should know about.

Continual training without adequate rest can cause many harms to the body. In extreme cases – such as ultra-endurance running – mild scarring of the heart can occur.

Running puts stress on your body, and rest is important (Picture: Getty)

It can also weaken the immune system by reducing the function of immune cells. This can increase risk of respiratory infections and cause drastic changes in hormones, such as an up-to-40% reduction in adrenaline and testosterone. …read more

Source:: Metro


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