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Jogging in Manila

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 4 months ago
Running in the Philippines: Beneficial or Harmful?


Description and Rationale


Health Benefits for Running in the Philippines


It is not easy to run in the Philippines because of the sultry heat and the polluted air. However running is one of the best activities most people can do to improve their health. Running regularly can help with weight loss, fighting aging and disease, and with generally staying healthy.


 However since the pollution is so bad in the Philippines, the concern is that wouldn’t it be harmful for human to run in such polluted atmosphere? What is the air pollution’s impact for long distance runners? Would running in the Philippines could actually be harmful or would it still be beneficial despite the polluted air? If the pollutants make the runners harder to run, then what might be some modifications in jogging in the Philippines?

 Numerous researches were made about running from the scientists. It is proven that running help fight the aging process. It prevents muscle and bone loss that often occur with age. Our bones are made to accommodate the demands placed upon them. By sitting at TV all day, allow the bones to grow weaker, but by running regularly, the skeleton gets the demand it needs to stay healthy. In addition to keep the organs from aging quickly, regular, high-intensity exercises, like running, has also been proven to promote the human growth hormone. Running also helps to fight disease. It reduces the risk of stroke and breast cancer. It reduces the risk of heart attacks, by strengthening the heart and lowering blood pressure. It boosts the immune system by creating a higher concentration of lymphocytes.

 The initial purpose of this project will be to research the Faith Academy Running Records and find out if a runner made a progress in a constant running period. If there is an apparent gradual success, then running in the Philippines is beneficial. But if it shows no progress then it might be that running in the Philippines is harmful.


 It is hoped that this project would encourage lazy people to run regularly, so that they can improve their health and stay fit.

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Organs of Respiratory System



In order to run, do any kinds of activities, or even just to stay alive, respiratory system is indispensable for humans. Respiration means breathing. Without breathing, every creature dies. The major organs that have a very important function in respiratory system are the lungs; they bring fresh oxygen (O2) into our bodies while expelling carbon dioxide (CO2).  The oxygen travels from the lungs through the bloodstream to the cells in all parts of the body.  The cells use the oxygen as fuel and give off carbon dioxide as a waste gas. Trachea and Bronchi are the organs that join lungs with nose and mouth. The Trachea filters the air we breathe and branches into the bronchi. The Bronchi are two air tubes that branch off the trachea and carry air directly into the lungs. Breathing starts with a dome-shaped muscle at the bottom of the lungs called the Diaphragm. When you breathe in, the diaphragm contracts and it flattens out then pulls downward. This contraction movement enlarges the space where the lungs are and the larger space pulls air into the lungs. When you breathe out, the diaphragm expands reducing the amount of space for the lungs and forcing air out.


Gas Exchange - O2/CO2 in air sacks

Within the lungs, the Trachea is wired with left and right Bronchus, which further divides into the smaller branches called Branchioles. Branchioles are made up with tiny air sacks called Alveoli. Gas exchange is the delivery of oxygen from the lungs to the bloodstream and the elimination of carbon dioxide from the bloodstream to the lungs. It occurs between alveoli and a network of tiny blood cells called Capillaries, which are located within the walls of alveoli. Red blood cells travel through a Capillary. The Fused Basement Membrane separates the walls of Capillary and the walls of Alveolar. This allows Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide move freely between the Alveolus and Capillary. Oxygen molecules attach to the red blood cells that travel back to the heart. At the same time, the CO2 in the Alveoli are blown out of the body during exhalation. Gas exchange allows the body to replenish the oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide.

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Oxygen Debt

Sometimes muscles need more energy than they can get. When running, oxygen is not available fast enough or in sufficient quantity. At such times, the body has a way of producing energy anaerobically, without oxygen, and is called Oxygen Debt. Glucose is still broken down to rebuild ATP; but if there is no oxygen, 15 times as much Glucose may be needed. So in the absence of Oxygen, not all the Glucose fuel can be used for ATP. An intermediate substance called lactic acid accumulates and diminishes the supply of ATP. The muscles, without ATP and their energy supply, begin to ache and feel heavy, and they slow down. Unless Oxygen is supplied to oxidize the lactic acid that has accumulated in the muscles and blood, fatigue sets in, and the exhausted body is forced to rest. All the oxygen that would have been used by glucose oxidation must be repaid to scatter the lactic acid before the body can recover fully from fatigue. Depending on the size of the oxygen debt and how quickly it can be repaid, fatigues can last minutes, hours, or even more than a day.


Effect of Pollution

The inhalation of air pollutants leads to their absorption into the bloodstream and transport to the heart. All the chemical and harmful biological substances may involve directly with cardiovascular system, the heart and a network of blood vessels, and they cause structural changes as long with functional changes like rhythmicity and contractility of the heart. Heart and lung diseases are very common in the Philippines. Air pollution is killing 2000 Philippinos per year. According to the University of the Philippines’ College of Public Health, the World Bank said that the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is highest among jeepney drivers, affecting 32.5% of them.


 COPD is also known as Chronic Obtrusive Lung Disease and has two major disorders: Emphysema and Chronic bronchitis. Emphysema is a chronic disorder in which the walls and elasticity of the Alveoli are damaged. Chronic bronchitis occurs when the cells lining the inside of bronchi is inflamed and increases the risk of infection and obstructs airflow in and out of the lung. Symptoms include cough, production of mucous, and shortness of breath. No cure exists for the people suffering from COPD. Even the bus drivers in their air-conditioned buses, cannot escape the effects of air pollution and they ranked no.2 among those affected by COPD at 16.4%. Beside COPD, at least 22 million Philippinos are suffering or exposed to pollution-related disease such as Tuberculosis. 

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Potential Solutions

Is running in the Philippines good or bad? I have been wondering if running would be harmful because of the polluted air in Manila however, through the findings and research, I found that running is never harmful despite of this polluted country, unless you have a joint problem. There are so many health advantages and few disadvantages of running. Below are three possibilities with an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each:


Possibility 1

Weight Loss


There are so many people who are struggling with fat. Being fat is ugly, makes people look unattractive but further more obesity leads to heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, back pain, stroke, and even mental illness like low self-esteem.


1. Running really can solve all of weight problems. When running, large muscle groups results in a large calorie burn and thus favors weight loss (body fat reduction). The results won’t be magical but definitely far more effective than any other exercises or training. Running about 25 to 30 miles per week leads to a loss about 2 800 calories.

2. It is not necessary to run fast or do a race. Rather the person has to focus on long distance running at a slow pace.


1. If the person is too fat and if the weight strains on the joints are too heavy running could be harmful due to overuse injuries to joints, including the ankle, knee, hip, and lumbar vertebrae of the lower back.  Jogging also stresses the front region of the lower leg, commonly causing pain and connective tissue irritation called shin-splints.

2. Running is definitely a high impact mode of exercise and it is estimated that the impact stress to the lower extremities during running is two to three times that of the runner's body weight.  Stress fractures and overuse injuries are frequent among runners, even for those within ideal body weights. 

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Possibility 2

Prevention of Aging Process


The human body tends to age quickly when one keeps an unhealthy lifestyle without any workouts or exercises. And that tends to become a major reason of weakening of bones and muscles.


 1. Running prevents the bone and muscle loss that takes place, as a person grows older and when the body ages there is a high risk that some organs in the body like heart and blood vessels to become weak. Running intensity increases VO2max by improving the ability of the heart and lungs to supply working muscles with oxygen, and enhancing the ability of muscles to burn oxygen. Exercise at this level produces major physiological changes in the heart. The heart chambers become larger allowing the heart to pump out substantially more blood per heartbeat. In contrast, the resting heart rate decreases.


1. Research by Williams has come up with very unfortunate facts. A paper published in the November 2006 issue of the journal Obesity by Williams and Paul Thompson of Hartford Hospital found that runners who increased their running mileage gained less weight than those who remained sedentary, and runners that quit running became fatter. 

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Possibility 3

Boost of Immune System


Sickness also comes from laziness and lack of exercises.


1. Running helps to fight disease. It reduces the risk of stroke and breast cancer. It reduces the risk of heart attacks, by strengthening the heart and lowering blood pressure. It boosts the immune system by creating a higher concentration of lymphocytes.


1. The McMaster University results indicate that the runner should not suddenly increase the intensity of the training or the mileage because it can overwhelm his/her immune system. The subsequent suppression of your immune system, although short-lived, can open the door to illness. Therefore, runners should take extra precautions when adding speed work, races, or extra miles to their running program.


Action Step

 I interviewed one of my most inspiring runner who is in ninth grade and his name is Ben Gregory. I interviewed him on why does he like running so much even though it is exhausting and how did running help him mentally and physically.

1. How long have you been running?

 I have been running since the first time Cross Country started, which was when I was in the middle school. 6th grade maybe?

2. Why do you run?

 It helps me to get in shape. It is my favorite hobby to do. And… ugh, I can’t think… keeps me healthy, makes me stronger. It challenges me to go faster than the person who is faster than I am. And other thing about running is that when you are dehydrated, you need to get plenty of water and Gatorade.

3. What do you think is the mental benefit of running?

 Hard, fun, challenging, exciting, enjoyable, good fitness and exercise. It gives me the idea to run faster so I push myself.

4. Any changes on you character because of running?

 It did change me. Changed me to be a runner who heads for the goal, who thinks for the goal and keeps on pressing on.

5. How would you encourage other people to run?

 Go and sign up in Cross Country meet, even though you don’t like running. But try if you like it or not. But if you don’t like, then it is your fault. But I really want people to run a lot because I want people to be healthy.

 To prove that running in the Philippines is beneficial and healthy, I decided to check my mileage records. I could not get my last year’s mileage record but I vividly remember when I came to Faith Academy last year, I was in extremely bad shape. I was very weak and because of all the cigarettes I have been smoking when I was in Vietnam, my health was bad. My first mile run was excruciatingly exhausting. My first record was around twelve minutes. I was so embarrassed since then so I woke up every morning at 4 a.m. and ran a mile with my dorm parent. During my training, I definitely saw improvement and because of my constant training, now I am thousand times better than a year ago. Below is the table of my mileage record of this year:


09/14/2006 8:32   

09/28/2006 7:47   

10/15/2006 7:28   

11/03/2006 7:08   

12/13/2006 6:58 

Such huge progression of my mileage over the year shows that running is beneficial even in the Philippines, an air-polluted country.

 I did not try to reach to the Philippinos to encourage them to run because I did not know how to reach them. I think I will just have to use my mile record as my testimony to encourage people who are in bad shapes. The more air pollution is severe in Manila the more people have to keep their health and remain strong by doing vigorous exercise such as running.

Biblical Rationale/Principles

 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6: 19, 20

 I interpret this verse not only as a sexual purity but also as a care of our body. I think God wants us to do our best on keeping our body healthy because our body is not ours. That is why we have to exercise – to honor God with our body. I think the diseases come from the laziness and lack of concern of the body that God gave us. Therefore, we must stay fit. Let us all run!



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“Lethal Inhalation in the Philippines” www.peopleandplanet.net  by Henrylito D. Tacio, 30 Jan 2003.

Access Date: 05/07/2007


“What are the Benefits for Runners?” www.running.about.com by Jesslyn Cummings, Oct 16, 2005.

Access Date: 05/07/2007


“Air Pollution/Clean Air Act” www.philsol.nl by Philippine Star, 20 Jan. 2003.

Access Date: 05/07/2007


“Run 30 Miles a Week, You Still Add Weight with Aging, But Not As Much” www.seniorjournal.com by Tucker Sutherland, May 4, 2007

Access Date: 05/07/2007


“Aging of your Heart and Blood Vessels is Risky” www.healthandage.com Nov.17 2003

Access Date: 05/07/2007


“Effects of Running on your Immune System”www.copacabanarunners.net 2004 by Pete Pfitzinger

Access Date: 05/07/2007


“Running Health Benefits” www.iloveindia.com 

Access Date: 05/07/2007


“Running: Advantages and Disadvantages”www.myfooddiary.com by Dr. Sharon E. Griffin, 2007

Access Date: 05/07/2007


“Running for Weight Loss” www.myfooddiary.com by Dr. Sharon E. Griffin, 2007

Access Date: 05/07/2007

< http://www.myfooddiary.com/resources/ask_the_expert/running_for_weight_loss.asp>



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