New study shows that running can benefit the spine and reduce back pain.


A new study has found that running can help strengthen the spine, potentially helping to prevent and manage back pain.

Carried out by Deakin University’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Australia, the team recruited 79 participants for the study, which is the first to find evidence in humans that running can benefit the intervertebral discs (IVD) in the spine.

Before this study discs were thought to be a “slow tissue” and were believed to take much longer to respond to exercise than muscle.

“Prior research in the last decade had shown that the IVD components are replaced extremely slowly, leading researchers to think it would take longer than the average human lifespan to have an impact on the disc with interventions like exercise or medication,” explained lead researcher Associate Professor Daniel Belavy.

“However, in this study we have been able to show that regular physical activity, such as jogging, can actually strengthen the IVD.

The study also showed that walking may also have the same beneficial effect on the discs as running.

“Even going for a walk during a break at work, or choosing to take the stairs rather than the elevator is good for the discs, as well as for overall back health,” said Assoc Prof Belavy, who added that just reducing the amount of time spent sitting down or standing still could also help.

Assoc Prof Belavy also stressed that looking after spinal health and strengthening discs with exercise during teenage years, the 20s and 30s, could also help to prevent back problems later in life.

The results of the study can be found online published in Scientific Reports.


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