Running Technique, Posture and PainSep 06, 2012
In case you missed my article in the Los Alamos Daily Post.
There are no sports beyond our body's capability! When we have pain playing a sport though, it is easy to blame the activity for our pain. Running, the primary functional movement our body was designed for, has a reputation for being hard on or even bad for the body. It is often the first sport we are advised not to do if we have any lower extremity pain. If running were the problem then everyone who runs should hurt as a result of participating, right? The fact is, some people suffer while others are pain free. Why?
The difference lies in the physical body that is brought into the activity and the technique that is used while moving. If you go out to run with postural disparities and poor motion patterns your stride will be compromised which can lead to movement compensations, pain, overuse injuries, joint deterioration...and in the end no more running.
Could it be that the human body is so fragile that running will inevitably result in injury? If you're familiar with the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall you might remember the story of the early bush men who hunted by running down their dinner.
Perhaps our sedentary lifestyle and the conveniences made possible by the Industrial Revolution changed our bodies so rapidly that we should not run? No, our physical structure does not evolve through so few generations and we are still optimally designed for running.
Running is one of the most innate movements for humans. Pete Egoscue who developed the Egoscue Method® of posture alignment therapy rates running as the number one activity for the body. From a postural perspective running best simulates ideal joint alignment and has the additional benefit of impact which promotes joint stability and bone growth. Cross-country skiing comes in a close second only due to the lack of pounding.
It is not running but the poor body position and movement patterns you bring to the sport that can make you hurt.
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