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Why Long-Distance Running May Not Be The Best Cardio

Updated: Feb 5

Why Long-Distance Running May Not Be The Best Cardio

While running is frequently hailed as an accessible and budget-friendly cardiovascular exercise that promotes heart and lung health, it is essential to recognise its potential drawbacks, which are often overlooked or dismissed. Long-distance running, a staple in many fitness routines, might not be as ideal as it appears.

In this article, we will shed light on the downsides of long-distance running that often go unnoticed. Additionally, we will introduce alternative exercises that receive less recognition but offer a more balanced approach to fitness, free from the drawbacks associated with extended running sessions.

Join us as we delve into the reasons why long-distance running might not be the perfect exercise choice for everyone.

1. Repetitive impact on a rigid surface

Surprising as it may be, running exerts an impact on your knees that can reach up to four to six times your body weight with every stride. Add this to the unyielding nature of running tracks, and it's a recipe for knee issues like osteoarthritis. During a standard 5km run, you take over 6,250 steps, subjecting your knees to significant wear and tear. This cumulative stress can lead to chronic pain, significantly impacting your later years.

2. Poor form and injuries

During the peak of exhaustion in a lengthy run, it's challenging to sustain proper form, leading to a deterioration in your running technique. Coupled with the repetitive and high-impact nature of running, this creates an ideal scenario for injuries to occur.

Runners often face various injuries, including pulled foot arches, knee pains, and ankle sprains. While maintaining good form might come naturally to seasoned athletes and dedicated runners, hobbyists aiming to incorporate running into their fitness routine find it more difficult. Consequently, they end up taking on higher risks for injuries, particularly when engaging in long-distance running.

Alternative exercises to try

In addition to highlighting the potential downsides of long-distance running, it's crucial to explore alternative exercises that often fly under the radar but deliver a more holistic approach to fitness. These lesser-known activities not only provide cardiovascular benefits but also mitigate the risks associated with prolonged running.

One such alternative is swimming, which offers a full-body workout while being incredibly gentle on the joints. The buoyancy of water reduces impact, making it an excellent choice for individuals seeking efficient cardiovascular exercise without subjecting their knees and joints to excessive strain. Furthermore, yoga, with its focus on flexibility, balance, and strength, serves as an excellent alternative to running. Yoga not only enhances cardiovascular health through specific breathing techniques but also promotes overall body awareness and mindfulness, fostering a harmonious blend of physical and mental well-being.

When looking for a suitable exercise program, consider any pre-existing conditions and injuries that may become exacerbated. A good knowledge of self-applied therapy such as ice packs or warm compresses, or seeking sports injury management in Singapore can counteract some of the negative side effects of exercise.


In summary, while long-distance running has been a popular choice for cardiovascular exercise, its drawbacks, such as high impact on joints and increased risk of injuries, cannot be ignored. As we've explored, there are various alternative exercises that offer a more balanced and joint-friendly approach to fitness, catering to individuals seeking effective cardiovascular workouts without compromising their well-being.

At Affinity Pain Clinic, we understand the importance of staying active while prioritising joint health. Our specialised services provide comprehensive pain management solutions including golfers elbow treatment, facial pains treatment in Singapore and more.

If you're looking for personalised care and effective pain relief, explore our services today and embark on a journey towards a healthier, pain-free lifestyle.

For more information, feel free to contact us today.


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