Surprise! Running isn’t one of them (as long as you strengthen first).
At my gym I’m known as “that lady who runs.” I live in a popular retirement area so if you visit my gym you may think you’ve stumbled into an AARP meeting especially if a “silver sneakers” class is about to begin.
Everyone is very welcoming and friendly, but I often hear warnings about how my running will hurt or even ruin my knees. I accept the advice as well intentioned and usually respond with the well documented studies that statistically runners have fewer problems than non runners.
Perhaps it’s because of the websites in my search history, but knee articles always find their way to my mailbox.
So the bad habits are
1) Overeating leading to obesity which increases the risk of osteoarthritis “because it speeds the breakdown of cartilage.” Then there’s the extra pressure on your knees. Each pound of weight puts 3 pounds of pressure on your knees when walking and 10 pounds when going down stairs or running. So I took 250 pounds of pressure off my knees when I lost the weight?
No wonder I went faster and the hills seemed easier. I can understand how someone with a LOT of weight to lose would be advised to postpone running until further along toward their goal.
2) Too much time on the couch since lack of exercise causes muscles to weaken and joints to lack support. Strengthen with low impact activities. This is great advice. I can understand how jumping right into running without first building strength could result in injury.
3) Avoiding “slump” while standing or sitting. Mom always said “stand up straight.” In that case at least she knew what she was talking about.
The full (very short) article is here.
I believe in gradualism in weight loss, strength training and running. I’m also grateful for the medical advancements that have made knee replacement surgery so routine. Many at my gym are rehabbing after such surgery (all non runners I must add), but I would really like to keep my original knees.
So I will only increase my speed or distance slowly or even just keep it constant. At my age if I can’t turn back time, maybe at least I can slow it down a bit. Maintaining my goal weight is a big part of that.
Note: I should add that if you have a knee problem already or just don't like running, DON'T. There are plenty of other low impact activities that are just as valuable. Do what you enjoy. Movement should make you happy not be something you dread.
Edit: Thanks to the comments, I want to emphasize the importance of stretching in avoiding injury. I ALWAYS conscientiously stretch after running using the routine suggested by my orthotics guy decades ago. I make sure to hold each move to the required number of seconds and NEVER cut it short. Being OCD about this is a good thing.