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Skip Your Run in Favour of Strength Training for a Stronger, Healthier Back

The spine is made up of intervertebral discs that contain fluid within them - healthier discs have more fluid. Lying on your back is the position that puts the least amount of pressure on the spine. Increased pressure is put on the discs as you go from standing upright to seated and to positions in which the torso is flexed forward.

Researchers measured how running on a treadmill at an intensity of 75 percent of max for 30minutes affects stature and health of the intervertebral discs. The pounding action of running exerts repeated impact loading on the spine. In contrast, compressive loading, which is caused by weight-bearing activities such as strength training, may be a better option than impact loading.

Compressive loads do put pressure on the spine, but with proper technique they also strengthen bone and build muscle. In contrast, distance running may degrade bone and muscle. Another well-known value of strength training using multi-joint lifts such as squats, deadlifts, chin-ups and Olympic lifts is that it strengthens the muscles of the abdomen and torso, helping to protect the back and spine.

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