The way you run may impact your health, for better or for worse. Your running form may cause knee and back problems if you don’t know how to exercise the correct way. Done the wrong way, running may be setting you back rather than improving your health.
What The Research Says
A recent study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed that over 55% of runners experienced pain as a result of overuse. The chronic overuse led to health problems such as shin splints, knee pain, and overall body aches. According to research, it is the way you run that may be to blame.
Runners who touch their forefeet to the ground first, upon take off, have fewer knee injuries than those who strike the ground with their heel. Studies showed that runners, who constantly strike their heel to the ground first, before the rest of their foot, when running, actually cause knee pain and muscle injury. Doctors and orthopedic surgeons recommend that a runner should take shorter and smaller steps that are quicker in pace, to reduce impact on the knee.
Fitness Tips for the Proper Form
According to research, running health may be improved by stabilizing the knee through proper form. Experts in fitness from the University of Calgary suggest strength training prior to the start of a running program. Rather than being overzealous about your running distance, focus on building and strengthening muscles first. After a couple of weeks of strength training, running distance may be increased.
It is critical that the right form be carried out to prevent injury to the knee. If the muscles are weak, stabilizing the knee and hips may be difficult. When the muscles are strong, the other muscles surrounding the knee stabilize the area and keep it from receiving injury during impact.
If you have already started a running program, it is not too late to strength train. In fact, doctors at the University of Calgary recommend that all runners strength train. Knee strength may be gained within just a couple weeks, which will help prevent injury. The stronger the muscles, the less likely a person is to cause injury to their knee.
For optimal results, a person should strength train for about eight weeks to improve knee flexibility and strength. During the period of strength training, a person may learn to run the correct way. A physical therapist or fitness specialist may show you the proper form so that you decrease the likelihood of injury.
Some of the best strength training exercises involves inner and outer thigh strengthening, gluteus medius strength training, and overall thigh toning. Working with a fitness expert or personal trainer will help you to know which muscles aid in knee flexibility, tone, balance, and strength.