Mind, Body and Sole: 26 April - Women's Running

Mind, Body and Sole: 26 April

Author: Juliet McGrattan

Read Time:   |  May 12, 2016

Your questions to GP Juliet McGrattan this week:

Mind: Take heart and keep running

I’ve heard that distance runners can develop heart problems in the long term, and I’d like to do a lot of marathons. Should I be worried?

The benefits to your heart outweigh the risks. A study of runners in 2011 showed that immediately after a marathon there were some changes to the right ventricle of their hearts (the chamber that pumps blood to the lungs). After a week these changes had disappeared in 87 per cent of runners. This was a small study, with only 40 people taking part, and involved highly trained endurance athletes who were working way beyond the capabilities of most of us. Bigger studies need to be done to determine any risks in the long term. If you follow sensible training plans and include adequate recovery times you should not have to be concerned about heart damage. Instead, focus on the benefits your fitness will bring your overall health.

Tired woman resting after workout exercise

Body: Running with diabetes

I’d like to start running but I have type 2 diabetes. Will I have a problem?

Running is a great choice of exercise for you. It burns calories, reduces cholesterol and lowers blood pressure, all of which will help your diabetes. If you’re just being treated with dietary changes you can exercise freely. If you’re taking medication that lowers blood sugar you should see your GP or diabetic nurse for some personalised advice about the timing of your running and fuelling. Always take your mobile phone with you and avoid overuse of sports drinks and supplements. Remember to check your feet after every run, as foot care is a very important part of diabetic care. Over time you can improve your body’s response to insulin and make a real difference to your future. Get out there!

Woman taking diabetes test, close-up of hands

Sole: Take a break

I’ve just been told I have a stress fracture and I can’t run for two months. Can I do some light jogging in this time, as I don’t think I can cope without any running?

I’m afraid you must not run – not even light jogging. Ignoring this advice risks further damage and an even longer spell without running. Try cycling or aqua jogging in deep water to keep up your fitness. When you do return to running, you’re at increased risk of another stress fracture. Make sure you only increase your training intensity by ten per cent each week. Ensure you have well-fitting trainers and if possible have a gait analysis, to check for imbalances in your posture. Avoid irregular running surfaces initially. Don’t forget to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, too. Try to be patient – it is possible to make a full recovery, but you do need to rest.

X-ray human's ankle with arthritis

Got a question for Juliet? Email [email protected]

Juliet McGrattan

Health expert, author, keen runner and busy mum

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