Running Mistakes

I was recently asked what are the best ways to avoid injury while running.  Those of you who are more familiar with my training philosophy will know that my stock answer to that is: don’t run.  Runners injure themselves at a higher rate than any other athletes, with some estimates ranging up to 90% of runners experiencing injury in a given year.

But what if you love to run?  What if that’s why you get out of bed in the morning?  Well, physical activity is a good thing, and if running is what you’re motivated to do, I won’t stop you.  Meanwhile, here are some tips on how to keep from getting hurt while you do it!

Some common mistakes runners make: not taking the time to run backwards or sideways.  Running backwards and sideways for short periods during your run will help you develop balance and overall muscle coordination.

Another mistake: using strength training machines like leg extensions, leg curls, and calf raises.  These isolate muscles and don’t allow them to work in concert with each other.

Don’t run with overly cushioned sneakers or sneakers with too narrow a toe box.  Sneaker manufacturers are now creating sneakers with a “zero drop” heel so that the heel and toe box are the same height.  Buying shoes with a high heel relative to the toe box  will add to the risk of injuries to your toes.  In fact, barefoot running is very beneficial for your overall health and running.

Don’t stretch muscles that aren’t tight; get a functional movement screen to determine what needs stretching and what needs strengthening.

Here’s some more advice that applies to everyone, not just runners: eat organic food as much as possible and drink as many ounces of water as half your body weight in pounds.  Get eight hours of quality sleep, eat chia seeds and other sources of Omega 3, 6, and 9 to reduce inflammation.  Running can create up to ten times your weight in impact force on your joints, where walking only creates about double your weight–keep that in mind.

So, if you feel the need to run, go ahead, but for goodness’ sake take care of yourself!

If you know someone who could use this information (and I bet you do) make sure to share it with them!

Winter Workouts

The best ways to stay active in winter are ways that incorporate fun. Many people opt for indoor exercise during the winter–gym workouts, mall walking, etc. But I think it’s extra important to get outside and take advantage of the opportunities we have to enjoy what little sunlight there is and breathe in fresh air.

One of the most obvious and convenient outdoor winter workouts is shoveling snow. Don’t treat it as drudgery–put in some headphones, get a rhythm, and pay close attention to your posture. It’s a great workout, but it’s also very easy to hurt yourself if you don’t make sure to have stable footing and lift with your legs as much as possible. You work your core, arms, and legs, and if you get into it enough, it’s also a great cardiovascular workout.

Another great exercise in the snow is building snowmen! This activity requires you to bear crawl while pushing a progressively heavier ball around, and then lift and place the ball. It’s such a great full-body workout that I almost want to find a way to simulate it for my clients!

If you dress well, you can also do regular outdoor exercise like walking. Make sure you keep your extremities warm but let your core body breathe a little bit–go heavy on hat/headband and gloves and lighter on jacket and pants. You’ll be much less miserable that way.

If you know anyone who could benefit from this information, please share it!

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