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OMG! That's dangerous!

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

OMG! That’s so dangerous! Don’t do it that way, you’ll hurt yourself. I don’t deadlift, I’ll wreck my back. Running ruins your knees. Ballet is terrible for your hips. Squatting is terrible for your knees. Rolling shrugs will cause injury. Rolling to the pinkie toe in demi-pointe is dangerous. If I don’t do push-ups the right way, I’ll develop a shoulder impingement.


Blah, blah blah.


When I hear things like this, I want to scream loudly into the void. I will admit that I used to use the word ‘dangerous’ when speaking to my patients and over the short course of my career, I learned it’s not the best way to go about educating my patient. I did write a blog about Fear Mongering and False information a while back but I am coming back around as it also ties into my blog about DPTs vs CPTs.


A former coworker of mine from my days of being a personal trainer posted a reel on Instagram from Arthur Jones who created the Nautilus equipment line; he has no other accolades or credentials as far as I was able to find. Yes, Jones revolutionized the fitness industry, but there is nothing else to suggest he was technically an academic with published studies. The Instagram post I watched, Arthur stated that running is dangerous for cardiovascular health. I commented on the post and a debate between 2 people was born. I maintain that no movement for the human body is inherently dangerous. I can’t remember who, but someone in the interwebs stated: the body doesn’t like surprises. ( Found him: @hamishthephysio) Back to the reel by Arthur. First things first, he was a professional weightlifter. Not a researcher that has published studies, not a rehabilitation professional. Yes it’s wiki but that’s all there is on him.


The problem when someone with no credentials makes a statement with nothing to back it up, it is so damaging (yes, I picked that word on purpose) it scares the hell out of people. Sometimes it causes people to change something in their life that was not broken nor needing to be fixed. What did Arthur say that is true? You can achieve the same cardiovascular effects with weight training as running - yes and it is true. But to say something so… damning about a legitimate form of exercise is just dumb. I will say, the clip is probably 20 years old but it’s still not a good narrative and it’s circulating in social media. Can running technically be bad for you? Yes. Can weight training? Also yes.


Now, the issue with the ‘running is dangerous narrative’ is without context, it scares people and may even prevent them from participating in an activity they love or maybe even the only form of exercise they participate in. I found an article that speaks to this, but it is geared for marathoners, ultra marathoners and other people that partake in extreme events.

The second article I found speaks to people who have an underlying cardiac condition they did not know about.


Marathoners and Ultramarathoners are not your average person that runs 3 miles a day. Do I think people should not run? Depends. Do you like running? Then run. I don’t run because I hate it. I even got chastised once for telling patients I hate running but I take ballet and weight train. If I met a new patient who really had a desire to run a marathon and they had absolutely no running experience, we would sit and talk it out. Realistically, someone with no history of exercise would likely get hurt significantly if they literally ran 26.2 miles with no training. (Overuse injuries are real) In all reality, you also have to qualify for a marathon; usually by participating in half marathons and even with those, there are qualifying times. I mean, I’m sure there is a random person who can run 13.1 miles and live to tell about it, but that is not the average person.


Weight training too much can have more consequences than just adding mass. There is something called Rhabdomyolysis that causes kidney damage and also kill you. Weight training will at minimum increase your muscle mass and bone density which are all positive things. That does not make weight training inherently dangerous or superior as a form of exercise; it's just different.


Even with dancing, too much of something can be not so good for you. There is nothing wrong with honing your craft and trying to perfect your sport, but too much of a good thing can be bad. Overtraining in dancers is a real issue which can be compounded by other factors.


But...


Do you know what is dangerous? Sticking your hand into a fire. Cutting bagel in your hand (yes, I’ve done it and yes I have cut myself more than once). Making a left hand turn on a red light when there is oncoming traffic. Not eating enough calories in a day to sustain your body for life is dangerous. Drinking too much water can also be dangerous. Pushing your body into pain and not stopping when you feel pain can be dangerous.


Listening to to information from the internet doesn't have to be dangerous, but it can be. Listening to information by someone who is not qualified to give it can have very serious and negative consequences. Influencers and content creators without credentials have nothing to lose by hurting you.

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