Should running be your primary form of exercise?

Running should be your primary form of exercise
Running should not be your primary form of exercise
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Started by
Molly Banta

The Issue

Running is deemed by many to be one of the best forms of exercise, though many others claim running’s potential to cause harm may outweigh its benefits. Fulfilling recommended daily exercise can take form in many ways, be it working out on the elliptical, cycling, lifting weights, playing a sport, yoga, pilates, whatever gets you moving. It is estimated that there are 11 million self-declared “runners” in the US, with more choosing to pursue running as their main outlet for exercise. However, some say when used as the primary form of exercise, running can do more harm than good.

Most Divisive Question

2 stories vs 1 stories

Remaining Questions

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Final Thoughts

What people think
Pro: Running
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    Molly Banta
    Nia Creator

    Choosing any form of exercise is obviously a personal choice, and exercise in general is necessary and beneficial.

    The research shows running specifically is excellent for memory and cognition, weight loss, heart health, and life expectancy. There are some drawbacks, in terms of injury (stress fracture, joint/bone health) - though the research is unclear and this varies. I feel as if this risk is something that, though perhaps elevated with running, may be associated with exercise in general as well.

    Particularly if one enjoys running, it seems the benefits definitely outweigh these risks.

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    Aya Abitbul

    There's no question that running to some extent is healthy, as a moderate level of physical activity is commonly understood to be healthy. The research suggests, however, that although running certainly have benefits, there also may be no difference between running and walking in preventing cataracts, or high cholesterol/hypertension, for example. The research seems to be evenly split, suggesting that a moderate level of running is a safe and beneficial form of exercise.

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    K.T. Fei

    While running has its benefits, I’m unsure as to whether it should be the primary form of exercise. After reading this Nia, I see that running regularly reduces risks of death and cardiovascular disease and may improve memory performance. However, there is also evidence to suggest that engaging in an endurance sport like running could lower one’s bone mineral density and cause one to be more prone to fragility fractures. Running clearly has its benefits and risks. Of course, many other habits contribute to health and life expectancy so I think it depends on the individual to find a form of exercise that works best.

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    Abby Lyall

    I think it is clear from the evidence presented above that exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle. Whether or not that exercise should be running, though, is in my opinion a matter of personal choice. Although it might benefit some greatly, for others (especially heavier individuals or those with weaker joints and bones) it might be more beneficial to use other forms of exercise instead of or in conjunction with running.

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    Lea Thali

    After reviewing the Nia, I am torn. I think that there are many benefits that come from running, such as improved memory and increased life expectancy, but there are also many downsides. Running can cause a lot of injury and the evidence is not clear whether stretching and weight training can help alleviate this risk.
    The evidence is also still up in the air about how running impacts cardiovascular health and weight loss. I think running can be part of a healthy lifestyle, but I don't think it should necessarily be anyone's primary form of exercise.

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    Tahnsarah (Sarah) Peters

    From reading this Nia, there is a lot of research that supports running as a healthy activity. However, I am skeptical on whether or not it should be a primary form of exercise. Running can increase risk of injury and it may or may not improve memory and cognition. The evidence also that suggests that it could help you live longer, but it also depends on other aspects of your lifestyle. However, it is clear that running is best for weight loss and, in many cases, contributes to heart health. It seems like the pros of running mostly outweigh the cons. With that information, I think I would incorporate running into my exercise routine but maybe not as my primary form of exercise.

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Anti: Running


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