A blog by runners. For runners.

Does running make your face sag?


We here at WalkJogRun were somewhat shocked to read in a recent Marie Claire article that we should reconsider running. Why exactly? Well, it seems — at least according to certain doctors — running makes us look much older than we actually are.

Yes. You read that right!

According to the article and Julius Few, owner of the Few Institute for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in Chicago and New York City, “The constant up-and-down force [from running] may loosen facial ligaments and cause sagging and drooping in the cheeks, jaw, and jowls.”  She suggested low-impact, beauty-safe activities include the elliptical, swimming, and cycling.

And if you can’t give up the much-loved, wrinkle-inducing sports, Few recommends — at the very least — investing in some special shoes to absorb the extra shock. These shoes have unique soles made from “polymer blades that underwent rigorous ballistics testing.”  However, there’s a catch: They’re crazy expensive. The $180 price tag might add a few grey hairs to my head, defeating the purpose entirely.

Now, this single article isn’t the only place we’ve discovered talk of what’s actually a condition called Runner’s Face. Suggested methods for dealing with it after onset include both nonsurgical and surgical options. Plastic surgeons recommend injectables like Botox, surgeries for fat grafting, and whatever else helps erase the damage and rejuvenates gaunt, aged skin which has developed wrinkles or volume loss.”

Now there is some good news to toss into the equation. According to a 2008 study, the “detrimental effects don’t kick in until after 90 minutes of running at 70 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate.” So, if you stick with a lighter load or “exercising at 40 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate three to five days per week” you’ll actually being doing your body AND your face some good.

We don’t know about you, but if this Runner’s Face stuff is all true and worth worrying about (which is somewhat debatable in our non-expert opinion), we say we’d rather feel young than look it.

Let’s chase PRs, make awesome connections with running peers, and enjoy the optimal health the sport provides instead stopping it all for the sake of vanity. Because the fact of the matter is, running or no running, we’re all going to get old anyways. Might as well enjoy life!

All that said: there’s one factor that contributes to premature aging and/or beauty with running we can get behind. Sun protection. As we look ahead to March 9th — when we’ll spring our clocks ahead — we need to all think much more about our sun care routines in general, but also specific to when we log our miles.

Here’s how to avoid the burn, as well as our thoughts on the best sunscreens for runners.

Have you heard of Runner’s Face? Or does running just make your face smile?

Written by  Ashley Marcin.