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Opt for cross-country running over tarmac for healthier joints

Cross country runningGuardian writer Boff Whalley recently expressed his disbelief that anybody could choose pavement running over the soft, uneven landscape of the countryside.

He wrote of the Olympic fever that swept the nation this summer – the influx of amateur runners pacing the city streets in a bid to be the next Jessica Ennis, or Mo Farah.

“Ah, the city centre marathon,” he wrote, “that Gargantua of the athletics world! Or, in my view, the race that threatens to turn running into a soul-destroying, injury-increasing and mind-numbingly boring sport.”

The human body evolved to chase prey and flee from predators over the soft terrains of grasslands, forests and deserts. Our bones and joints were simply not built to withstand the relentless pounding of hard concrete and tarmac.

Whalley believes runners should forgo the busy streets and smoggy air of inner-city routes and take instead to parks, woods and fields. He claims the countryside can fulfil any athletic goal, from racing and endurance, to weight loss and improved fitness. Rough, uneven ground is in fact thought to burn fat faster than flat pavements and roads because getting over the lumps and bumps requires extra agility and awareness. The fresh air and Vitamin D dose also serve to clear the head and boost energy levels – something that jogging down the pavement dodging commuters and painfully slow tourists simply cannot do.

“What you’ll forfeit by deprogramming yourself from the cult of the marathon is simple: you’ll lose the chance to tell your friends that you ran a marathon. That’s all,” he wrote.

Although exercise is important for physical and mental health, running can put detrimental stress on joints and bones. However, exercise-inflicted injuries can usually be prevented and treated with a wide variety of therapies, including massage and yoga therapy.

To learn more about therapy for sporting injuries, please visit our Therapies Topics pages.

To read the original article by Boff Whalley, please visit the Guardian website.

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Zoe Thomas

Written by Zoe Thomas

Written by Zoe Thomas

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