Browsing social networks I saw a headline that struck me: “Running reduces the brain”.
I love running so this news immediately caused me great concern.
How can running reduce the size of the brain? With all the benefits of physical exercise, is running bad for your health?
Extremes are also bad when it comes to practicing “running”
I had already heard about the damaging effects that running could have. In fact, it is very common that there are people addicted to this sport, which is known as “runnorexia”. Among the benefits of running we can find that: it reduces stress, improves cardiovascular capacity, reduces the risk of suffering diseases, and so on. But like any addiction, runnorexia has negative consequences for health.
Returning to the fact that running reduces the brain, and to avoid misinterpretation, we must qualify the owner of this article. Running produces many positive effects. However, running long distances can have negative effects on health.
A German study says that running very long distances reduces the brain
Taking the body to the extreme and running long distances can cause the brain to be reduced by 6.1%, according to a study carried out in Germany. Even more surprising is the fact that the researchers discovered that, after eight months, the brain returned to its normal size.
For this study, scientists from the University Hospital of Ulm (Germany) evaluated 44 participants of the 2009 edition of the Trans Europe Foot Race, a competition consisting of running from Italy to Norway, that is, a distance of 4,500 km in 64 days
The research was conducted by Uwe Schütz, a German radiologist, and the results were presented at the Annual Congress of Radiology. This study contradicts the majority of studies carried out so far, because they claim that running brings many psychological and neurological benefits: it improves mood or reduces the risk of suffering from degenerative diseases, among others.
There is no evidence that this happens with jogging or a marathon
Schütz explains that: “Despite the negative effects on the brain that the catabolic stress of an ultramarathon causes, this is due to an adaptive and reversible process. There are no long-term injuries. ” In addition, “It seems that this decrease in gray matter is due to the monotony of being facing forward for so many days in a row. It’s like the brain relaxes. “
In other words, everything indicates that this loss of mass affects the area of vision, what the long-distance corridor knows as “tunnel vision”. But be careful, there is no reason to cancel your running session this afternoon, since it does not seem that the same thing happens with a marathon or jogging.
Runnorexia is a problem for runners
The runnorexia yes that is a real problem that can affect the usual runners. This phenomenon causes the person to overvalue running, and make it the priority of their life, even over family, friends, work, etc.
Running is everything for a “runnerexic”, and not being able to do your training for any reason means a lot of frustration. There have been reports of people who cancel appointments or do not go to work one day to carry out their session, because the discomfort felt by these individuals if they do not perform these sessions is superior to them. That’s one of the signs that they suffer from an obsession.
The symptoms of runnorexia are the same as those of addiction to any type of physical exercise (for example, weight training). These symptoms appear when the person can not perform physical activity, and may be: anxiety, depression or irritability.