[FoRK] Global population increase coming from an unexpected direction?

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Sat Oct 23 19:17:59 PDT 2010

On 10/23/10 4:43 PM, John Parsons wrote:
> --- On Sat, 10/23/10, Stephen Williams<sdw at lig.net>  wrote:
>> And, as pointed out a while ago, it's been found that
>> joints also benefit from consistent running: runners,
>> without serious injuries, have the best joint condition and
>> least pain in old age.
> Still not a complete 'given' in my estimation. I'm prepared to agree the correlation is there, but the degree of chicken/egg causology is less clear. Your use of the "weasel" proviso of "without serious injuries" makes that clear.

I was paraphrasing the result of the study which was more clear: For runners, the main indicator of knee issues was a knee 
injury of some kind.  In other words, the theory that long-term running would gradually grind away at the joints and/or cause 
arthritis was disproved as runners overall had fewer of those issues than non-runners.  For runners that had knee issues, it was 
usually clear that they either had a congenital issue (knees can be malformed in various ways) or they had an injury event that 
didn't heal or didn't get to heal.  If you grind away (because of severe overuse without healing time) or rip away (football 
injury or fall), then running isn't going to help.  If you are fine, and you run normally without outpacing your body's healing 
ability, then the study showed you would likely end up better than those that didn't run.  And it indicated that the body's 
ability to heal must typically be better than the wear and tear from a significant amount of mileage as they included elderly 
runners that frequently ran long-distance.

> Running may be good maintenance for body and tissue health, but other conditions (i.e. arthritis, etc.) may render the maintenance moot. Running in itself is not restorative (i.e it is not a physical therapy per se, but a desired end point of therapy). If no therapy exists to relieve the underlying condition, running is not only unattainable, it is useless in the equation.

Sure, once you have the arthritis you have to break the inflammation cycle.  That's the nature of arthritis: the inflammation 
causes more inflammation.  The point of the study is that those that were running before they had arthritis were better off than 
those who hadn't run.

> I swim regularly, because it is the only form of aerobic exercise I can perform without pain. For me, running will never be possible again.

Swimming is great.  I just can't get myself to do it nearly as long and as strenuously as I can running.  I can't imagine doing 
the equivalent of a steep hike or fast run as I can't possibly breathe that fast in water.  I'm sure people can, however it 
seems a tougher skill to learn.  My point isn't that running is intrinsically the best thing to do, just that it is the easiest 
thing that most people could ramp up on that has that level of benefit.

> BTW, Your example of astronauts in micro gravity is a good one... While they train for weightlessness in a large pool, the general atrophy is only noticeable in zero G. What about reversing the paradigm? Suppose they had to navigate around and perform aboard the ISS in a medium as viscous as water (or more). You'd get no 'shock' component as you point out, but overall tone would be maintained, and presumably the bones would tend to reform into different arrangements to handle the different stress loads, while not necessarily atrophying. Would cetaceans have as hard a time with micrograv?

The easiest thing to do of course is to just create gravity by spinning.  You could overcompensate if needed.  However the 
viscous swimming should work for good skeletal stressing.  You could alternate that with something like a bounce room where you 
kick and push yourself from wall to wall for a while, stopping with some good shocks and negative Gs on the other wall.  I'm 
sure you could create some kind of fun sport.  You've read Ender's Game?

> JP


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