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A synthesis of the science of running


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Run, run but you cannot hide (from the benefits of running)

The science associated with the benefits of regular running is summarized. A few case studies are also presented as a mechanism to emphasize critical analysis of scientific findings and the sometimes spurious nature of findings. Then, meta-analyses and systematic reviews will be used to summarize the research to date on running and key decisions that are made with respect to running will be answered (using these findings). A framework of the additional benefits of running that are more challenging to measure will be proposed. Running may not be for everyone but is certainly useful for many of us based on the evidence to date.

Hespanhol Junior, L. C., Pillay, J. D., Mechelen, W. and Verhagen, E. 2015. Meta-Analyses of the Effects of Habitual Running on Indices of Health in Physically Inactive Adults. - Sports Medicine 45: 1455-1468.

Kluitenberg, B., Middelkoop, M., Diercks, R. and Worp, H. 2015. What are the Differences in Injury Proportions Between Different Populations of Runners? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. - Sports Medicine 45: 1143-1161.

Videbæk, S., Bueno, A. M., Nielsen, R. O. and Rasmussen, S. 2015. Incidence of Running-Related Injuries Per 1000 h of running in Different Types of Runners: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. - Sports Medicine 45: 1017-1026.

Oja, P., Titze, S., Kokko, S., Kujala, U. M., Heinonen, A., Kelly, P., Koski, P. and Foster, C. 2015. Health benefits of different sport disciplines for adults: systematic review of observational and intervention studies with meta-analysis. - British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Fuller, J. T., Bellenger, C. R., Thewlis, D., Tsiros, M. D. and Buckley, J. D. 2014. The Effect of Footwear on Running Performance and Running Economy in Distance Runners. - Sports Medicine 45: 411-422.

Saragiotto, B. T., Yamato, T. P., Hespanhol Junior, L. C., Rainbow, M. J., Davis, I. S. and Lopes, A. D. 2014. What are the Main Risk Factors for Running-Related Injuries? - Sports Medicine 44: 1153-1163.

Gist, N. H., Fedewa, M. V., Dishman, R. K. and Cureton, K. J. 2013. Sprint Interval Training Effects on Aerobic Capacity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. - Sports Medicine 44: 269-279.

Hall, J. P. L., Barton, C., Jones, P. R. and Morrissey, D. 2013. The Biomechanical Differences Between Barefoot and Shod Distance Running: A Systematic Review and Preliminary Meta-Analysis. - Sports Medicine 43: 1335-1353.

Hopkins, W. G., Schabort, E. J. and Hawley, J. A. 2012. Reliability of Power in Physical Performance Tests. - Sports Medicine 31: 211-234.

Schnohr, P., O’Keefe, J. H., Marott, J. L., Lange, P. and Jensen, G. B. 2015. Dose of Jogging and Long-Term MortalityThe Copenhagen City Heart Study. - Journal of the American College of Cardiology 65: 411-419.

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A synthesis of the science of running

  1. 1. run, run but you cannot hide (from the benefits of running) @cjlortie
  2. 2. benefits examples direct indirect increase blood flow prevent disease burn calories mood reduce stress cardiac health weight loss brain function moderate immune boosts serotonin receptors
  3. 3. costs examples direct indirect risk of injury time biomechanical wear financial immune stress cardiac events joint- osteoarthritis $1000/yr 250 hours/yr inflammation- cortisol
  4. 4. running makes me happy no research needed to make some decisions nonetheless, evidence can help us make informed and often better decisions
  5. 5. favorite myth: running kills Schnohr et al. 2015
  6. 6. 2 strenuous runners died over 100 couch sitters died cost-benefit relationship & pace cause of death unreported
  7. 7. many running myths more expensive shoes reduce injury running is bad for you knees pregnant women should not run eating pasta before a race boosts performance stretching reduces risk of running injuries muscle cramps caused by dehydration
  8. 8. errors or challenges to study low sample sizes statistical significance does not necessarily 
 equate to biological significance unbalanced designs correlation almost always implies causation
  9. 9. how do you resolve differences between individual runners or between individual studies? paired contrasts, vote counts, & narrative reviews ALL fail
  10. 10. solutions experiment of one (quantified self) big data syntheses 
 using effect sizes
  11. 11. meta-analysis gold standard solution
  12. 12. meta-analysis set of studies weighted strength of evidence treatment/control
  13. 13. does running significantly improve health outcomes? Junior et al. 2015 49 studies 17,875 individuals 1 yr of habitual running vs control
  14. 14. does running significantly improve health outcomes? Junior et al. 2015 body mass -3.3kg resting heart rate -6.7/min triglycerides 16.9 mg.dl VO2max + 7.1 ml.min 7/10 outcomes positive 25-30% net difference
  15. 15. how should we run? Gist et al. 2014 17 studies 318 individuals sprint interval training vs running vs control
  16. 16. how should we run? Gist et al. 2014 aerobic capacity measures 70% of outcomes positive 8% net difference sprint to running 20% net different relative to control
  17. 17. how far should we run? 86 studies 181,778 individuals sprinters to ultra marathoners Kluitenberg et al. 2015
  18. 18. should we wear minimalist shoes? Fuller et al. 2015 19 studies 634 runners lower metabolic costs reduced impact but not economy
  19. 19. decisions, decisions 200,000 individuals tested confirm benefits of running fast & short most benefit <10% risk unless you run really far secret surprise: light running beats 
 swimming benefits