One week down. How are those knees?

April 25, 2012

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As predicted, the second week of my diet was harder than the first. Always is.

I’m always great at starting projects but not always so great at finishing them. That’s one reason I want to see this goal to completion–I want to reassure myself that I can see something through to the end. That, and I want to look better in my jeans. Let’s be real–there is some superficiality behind my dieting efforts.

There’s another, more compelling, reason to lose even a small amount of weight and I’ll reap some fairly significant benefits as a result.

One study showed that just one pound of weight loss reduced knee joint stress by four pounds. To illustrate the study’s findings, an article in WebMD quotes Dr. Stephen P. Messier as saying, “The accumulated reduction in knee load for a 1-pound loss in weight would be more than 4,800 pounds per mile walked. For people losing 10 pounds, each knee would be subjected to 48,000 pounds less in compressive load per mile walked.”

That’s pretty substantial.

I’m not currently experiencing any knee pain or signs of arthritis in my knees, and I credit that to my yoga and other cross-training efforts that supplement my runs. But I have a family history of arthritis and runners have the reputation for developing knee problems.

Or do they?

This article does a good job of explaining how running affects knees. Several studies have shown that running and other high-impact exercise can actually be good for joints and reduce the long-term possibility of developing osteoarthritis. The reason, though, might be because people who run on a regular basis are generally not obese and being overweight is a more significant cause of joint problems. So the part that continues to be debated is whether it’s the act of running that improves joint health or it’s the resulting lower weight that should be credited.

In any case, my small weight loss will help improve my overall health and allow me to see a goal to completion. Win-win.

_________________________

I have a measly half-pound loss to report this week. Not meeting my 1-2 pounds per week goal, but at least I’m still heading in the right direction.

This past week’s efforts were a bit sabotaged by the fact that I put in extra hours at work and also picked up a horrible cold–my whole routine was derailed and I wasn’t able to get all of my planned workouts in. This next week I will be challenged because I will be going out of town for the Nashville race. I will certainly be tempted with lots of yummy restaurant food and the perceived entitlement that I have after running a race. 

“I just ran a half marathon; I should be able to eat whatever I want, right?”

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