Running can be habit forming, it’s an addiction that’s actually good for you. There are an estimated 50 million North Americans who strap on their running shoes and go out for a run; rain, shine or indifferent.
One of the primary reasons why running is so popular, for most, is that mythical yet very real “runner’s high” which most experience. What doing so does is it force feeds pure oxygen into the body, energizing all of the major organs which in turn combats anxiety, while exerting and strengthening all the major muscles.
The body experiences weight loss, reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis, lowers blood pressure, and lowers or levels out the “bad” cholesterol in the body. The best benefit, however, is that it’s free to do at any time of the day or year. You just head out the door and onto the open sidewalk.
The Cause Of Injury
But for all of its advantages, running, especially when first starting out, can be an painful experience. Sports Medicine experts claim that over 40% percent of runners will experience some type of injury, at times, even forcing them to quit.
The main reason is because of the basic mechanics which running commands, although the very cause of injury isn’t necessarily universal. If the new or experienced runner does somehow become injured, it could be because of an acute bio-mechanical imbalance problem.
The injury problems could could arise from a variety of situations, such as:
• Accidentally stepping into a pothole and twisting an ankle
• Having tight joints from improperly warming up, or
• Using the wrong type of shoes for their body type
Those who get injured could also be over extending themselves by running too much, resulting in muscle pain or burnout.
How To Reduce The Pain When Running
Conventional injury prevention when running can work for some individuals while not for others. This because there’s really no ideal or recommended form when it comes to running.
Running comfortably is all about complying to the runners specific body type. This includes their fat composition, body strength, flexibility, and their anatomical alignment.
So as a result, it’s not recommended that individuals not change their particular running form to either treat or prevent an injury, unless they know all of their bio-mechanics. This occurs when your athletic trainer or physical therapist analyzes your physical limitations.
Once they do so, there are methods used on how you can effectively avoid injury.
The Theory Of Running Barefoot
As long as man has been upright, the human species has been running. Running either to chase food for dinner, or being chased by something bigger because they were dinner.
The proponents who recommend running barefoot as a training method states that doing so prevents you from landing directly and flat of your heels, which has proven to add more blunt force to your joints. This rather than landing square on the balls of your feet, which is natural when you don’t wear footwear.
According to studies, the impact of a forefoot strike is approximately 33% percent of what results from a heel strike. So because of this, it makes barefoot running a better choice for those who experience repetitive stress related injuries from high-impact activity.
Running with shoes which has increased cushioning in the heel as well as the mid-arch leads to increased torque on the knees than when barefoot running. What running barefoot also promotes as well as encourages is better natural posture alignment and improved cadence. This because it becomes almost impossible to over-stride when you’re running barefoot.
It’s All About Relaxing Your Body
It’s recommended that you actively visualize about completely relaxing your body when running, and being more aware of your body form, posture, and cadence. Doing so can greatly reduce the impact placed on your joints and muscles while helping you go faster, further, and pain free using less energy.
This relaxation of the body when running is related to tai-chi. When relaxing all of your extremities, this allows your body to flow a lot more naturally. When some of the vital muscles become tense, that causes the other surrounding muscles to work that much harder while throwing off your mechanics and alignment.
This type of training will also focus on better posture when it comes to the shoulders, hips, knees, and the ankles falling into proper alignment. This also occurs when you go skiing, for instance, when the core of your body is leaning slightly forward from the ankles.
So what you’re doing while jogging is also leaning slightly forward, while gravity naturally pulls you so the running then becomes less forced. Becoming acutely aware of all your movements then pulls it all together.
It’s all about listening to the flow and movement of your body, which should always tell you how it’s feeling and doing, what’s working and when you should stop or slow down.
Running As Relaxed As Possible
Begin by loosening all of the major limbs before the run by literally shaking out your arms and your legs, relaxing the muscles. Try standing on one leg and then shake the other, allow the muscles to go completely flaccid.
Then stand up straight with your arms extended forward and twist your hips from side to side, which allows your arms and shoulders to swing along.
An extended warmup of all the muscles and joints which surrounds your ankles, knees, and hips are of vitally importance, especially when in cooler weather.
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