Get Your Stride Right

When it comes down to it, running is the best form of cardiovascular activity. However, it has sometimes gotten a bad reputation due to peoples fear of wear and tear on the knees over time or even the dreaded shin splints. The truth is, the wear and tear on the knees isn’t from just running. It comes from bad running form. Quite simply, if you improve your running form, any knees problems should be non-existent or lessened significantly.

Now, learning to run properly is no easy task. In fact, it is kind of like a golf swing in that there are so many muscle and joint movements that must work in unison to be most effective. It takes a lot of practice and patience to learn to run correctly. This is why there have been so many different running shoes made for different running strides. But, a running shoe that is made to compensate for running deficiencies such as over/under-pronation or heel striking, does nothing but cover up the problem. It’s actually maladaptive to ones progression in both running stride and cardiovascular goals.

To combat this issue, many people have resorted to a more natural way of running. Rather than wearing a shoe with a lot of bells and whistles that cover up stride and form issues, you actually learn to run properly with a more mid-foot to fore-foot strike instead of a heel strike. You also run with more of a neutral stride rather than an over or under-pronation, where your feet tend to turn excessively inward or outward.

This “natural” running stride is beneficial in many ways. It allows you to work muscles in your feet and legs that would normally be inhibited; it allows you to run more effectively and efficiently; more importantly, it takes a lot of impact and stress off of your knees. For instance, when striking with your heel first, it acts as a brake or a decelerator to your running stride, very similar to driving a car with your feet on the gas and the brake at the same time. Not only that, but the impact to your heel runs up your leg and into your hips, causing those knee and joint problems that so many people worry about. With a mid-foot or fore-foot strike, you are able move through your gait with much more efficiency and fluidity. Several studies have shown that injuries are reduced significantly in those who run with a mid/fore-foot strike as opposed to a heel strike.

So the evidence is there. If you transition to a more natural running stride, you will not fall victim to knee or joint pain and you will run longer, faster, and more efficient that ever. To get a better idea of how your running stride looks, stop by your local running shoe specialty store and they should be able to help you with a more hands on approach to proper running.

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Posted by on February 27, 2013. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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