Myths vs. Modern Science on Running

Running is one of the most popular exercises with 50 million estimated participants around the World. This beloved exercise has easy accessibility and is highly addictive. It improves cardiovascular functions, mental health, bone health and muscle strengths. However, according statistics, 27%-70% of recreational and competitive runners sustain at least one overuse running injury for one year period. 27 million runners will experience a running injury every year, and associated health care costs can reach up to $35 billion dollars. Running can be very costly for some runners.

Myth #1 Stretching before running can reduce risks of running injuries:

Recent studies revealed that regular stretching before running has very little evidence on preventing running injuries. We probably have developed this belief in our physed class that improving tissue flexibility can save us from getting running injuries.  Some studies even reported that runners who stretch regularly before running experience higher rate of injury than the ones who do not. Running biomechanics, muscular strength, and anatomical alignment are equally important as tissue flexibility.

Myth #2 You need better cushioned shoes to prevent running injuries:

Shoes shopping can be a painfully long process. A lot of runners believe shoes with quality materials and better density foam will improve comfort and reduce risks of injures. However, shoes shopping will become a complex process when we take biomechanics and anatomy into consideration. Our legs are natural suspension to our body. Highly cushioned shoes may give us the most feet comfort, but it can also jeopardize the joints above. On the contrary, running barefooted or with minimalistic shoes can alter our running mechanics into more ancestral movement. In barefoot running, it encourages runners to run with a forefoot strike instead of rearfoot strike, which results in decreased stride length; increased stride rate; decreased range of motion at the ankle, knee, and hips; and a more plantar flexed ankle position at ground contact. Barefoot running is not a new idea, Abede Bikila won gold in the 1960 Olympic marathon while running barefoot and Zola Budd set the world record for the 5000 m at the 1984 Olympic games.

Myth #3 Runners do not need strength training:

Strength training is a key aspect on injury prevention as muscle weakness can profoundly affect our running biomechanics. For example, knees are typically the most common site of injury, representing 40% of all running related injuries, and patellofemoral pain syndrome accounts for 46% to 62% of those injuries. In one recent study, runners who participated in 8-week program to strengthen the hip and core muscles have significant improvements in the knee adduction moment. In other words, the knee joint loading was reduced with increased muscle strength.

A perfect way to strengthen the body specifically geared towards runners is to book a sesssion with our Physiotherapist STOTT Trained Piltates Instructors in Aurora, Markham or Stouffville. Pilates focuses on core strength, flexibility, stability and balance and is a great way to develop functional strength for runners. Running uses your body in an interconnected way and pilates exercises your body to improve this interconnection and efficiency. Click here to book your next visit with Ali Glover in Aurora or Nick in Stouffville and Markham.

Written by: Simon Chow, BKin. RMT. CAT(C). R. Kin.

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