This is one of the oldest fitness myths around and it has been proven to be just that…..A MYTH! A recent study was done on thousands of patients to see the development of knee osteoarthritis as they aged. The results showed that non-runners were more likely to develop arthritis over runners.
The journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise published another study on the topic of knees, running and arthritis. It dealt with the knee joint and osteoarthritis. Not only did running not cause osteoarthritis in the knee joint but runners had less incident of it as compared to walkers.
The high impact of running, that some believed was harmful, can actually make the knee joint stronger by thickening the cartilage. The impact also stimulates bone growth, making the joint stronger, and strengthens the muscles around the knee, the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calf muscle, which support the knee joint. All of this can take some of the pressure or weight off the joint itself, thereby reducing wear and tear.
Now, all that said, research indicates that genetics is the greatest predictor of knee osteoarthritis, so you should know your family history. Also, pre-existing knee issues, like old injuries or prior surgeries, could aggravate certain conditions. But, given a clean bill of health from your physician, running will not in and of itself wear out your knees.
In my opinion, stable moderation is the key. If we overdo anything it could be harmful. Especially in American society, we overindulge and go on crash-course diets all the time. A healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and lean meats is best. When exercise is concerned, a little goes a long way and in time your body will be able to do more than what you anticipated.