The Surprising Way Running Makes You Younger

Running can help lower the relative age of your bone marrow tissue according to a new studyWhile a lot has been said about the toll that running can take on your body, an exciting new study now says that training could actually make your body younger—your body’s bone marrow, that is.

Bone marrow is a semi-solid tissue, found in the soft parts of your bones, that produces blood cells. When you’re first born, the marrow mostly produces red blood cells. As you age, however, it starts producing yellow fatty marrow, which can impact the health of your pelvis, thighs, hips and vertebrae and it can also lead to other conditions like osteoporosis and diabetes.

While this may seem like a bleak situation, this new study offers hope. Researchers at Deakin University in Australia followed 101 men and women between the ages of 25 and 35. According to their findings, subjects who ran more than 12.5 miles each week had bone marrow that was eight years younger than people who didn’t exercise regularly. Additionally, they found that bone marrow got one year younger for every 5.5 miles a runner logged on a weekly basis. By comparison, exercises like swimming and cycling seemed to have no positive effect on the age of subject’s bone marrow.

Lead study author Dr. Daniel Belavy says, “The findings suggest that the average person could gain ‘younger’ bone marrow by small amounts of running.”

So take it from the experts—and your Houston running doc—running can be very good for you, as long as you take the proper training precautions like incorporating rest days and including cross-training in your regimen. And always remember: if it hurts when you run, stop right away and see your doctor to avoid losing the benefits of your training and causing serious injury to your body.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.