Running Makes a Body Strong

Running Makes a Body Strong

Why do dedicated runners run?

Well, the physical benefits are obvious. Aerobic activity can lead to stronger muscles, increased lung capacity, a more efficient cardiovascular system, weight loss, better flexibility, and improved stamina.

But there can be an almost spiritual component to running, as well.

“Everyone’s aware of the physical benefits of running,” says Michael F. Martinez, MD, general surgeon with St. Luke’s Carbon Surgical Associates and founder of the Blue Mountain 5K race. “But the psychological effects are underappreciated. Personally, 90% of the benefits I get are above the neck. Running gives me a real sense of calmness and confidence.” Dr. Martinez and his son hit the road practically every day, in all seasons and all weather. “It helps me appreciate what each of the seasons has to offer,” he says.

Bill Moyer, president of St. Luke’s West Region and Allentown Campus, agrees. “When I go on longer runs, I like to be in a group, so I can talk with the other runners while we work out. But on shorter distances, I often go by myself. It helps me clear my mind and improve my concentration,” he says.

“I think it’s a great sport, but not everyone’s cut out for it,” he adds. “St. Luke’s encourages everyone to participate in some kind of physical activity. That’s one of the reasons we’re in the community with health initiatives for students, a ‘walk with your doctor’ program and others.”

St. Luke’s is also the new title sponsor for the Via Marathon scheduled for September 8. There’s also a half-marathon, a team relay event and a race for kids. Moyer will be part of the relay race and hopes to complete the half-marathon.

“The Via Marathon is our largest annual fundraiser,” says Jillian Lovejoy, communications director for Via of the Lehigh Valley. “The proceeds support our services to people with disabilities, but there’s a strong economic impact on the Lehigh Valley itself. Because our race is a major qualifier for the Boston marathon, thousands of people, from the U.S., and overseas, will be visiting our local restaurants, shops, and hotels.”

Lovejoy added that St. Luke’s will provide substantial medical resources at the race’s finish line, as well as training plans for anyone interested in preparing for the race.

Get complete information about the Marathon – everything from registration and fees to training guides and transportation – by visiting

Follow @LehighValleyMarketplace on Instagram