Researchers from a recent study found out that running could be a better exercise for long-term bone health compared to cycling or swimming.

In their study, the researchers found that when finishing the race, those who engaged in a 65-km mountain ultramarathon run had decreasing levels of osteocalcin and P1NP, two proteins that are associated with bone formation and bone health.

However, at rest, the researchers found that these ultramarathon runners had higher P1NP levels compared to those who performed low to moderate intensity exercise. This suggests that while runners divert their energy from bone formation to the demand of metabolism while running, they have net gain in bone health in the long run.

According to the lead author of the study, an average person needs moderate exercise to maintain health, but their study suggests that those at risk of weaker bones may benefit from running instead of swimming or cycling.

But before heading out to run, people should ensure that they are using the right kind of shoes to prevent damage, or aggravate existing bone and joint problems, such as osteoarthritis, which commonly affects the knee.

When looking for the right type of shoes, the following should be kept in mind:

Cushion – Well-cushioned shoes prevent shock to the knees while running and absorb impact when the feet hit the ground, therefore reducing stress on the knees.

Soles – People with low arches have feet that tend to excessively roll inward, which also makes the lower leg and knees to rotate inward, causing strain and pain on the knees. Shoes with firm midsoles prevent excessive inward rolling of the feet.

Arch support – Shoes with arch support eliminates discomfort, distributes weight evenly, helps maintain balance, provides extra shock absorption and relieves pressure from areas of the foot that may be sore. Arch support is especially important for those with extremely flat feet, as it can decrease pain and increase comfort while walking or running.

Right size – Running shoes should provide enough space for the feet, long enough and have more space in the toe area to avoid blisters and other discomfort.

Shoe laces – Using shoe laces reduces pain, risk of injury, uneven foot rolling, impact loading rates an pressure outside of the foot.

It is important to consult shoe store staff trained to help customers find the right shoe that best suits an individual. A podiatrist or other specialist can also advise on special inserts and orthotics that can be used in improving mobility. MIMS